The IRS quietly began sending penalty assessments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last November. The agency began by penalizing applicable large employers who failed to offer minimum essential coverage to 70% of their full-time employees in 2015. Now, they are sending penalty letters to employers who offered coverage in 2015, but had at least one employee who went to the Marketplace and received a subsidy. In this case, if the IRS believes the employee was not offered coverage, or the coverage offered was unaffordable, it will assess a penalty. Insiders also warn that 2016 penalty assessments are coming soon. If you receive a Letter 226J penalty assessment, we recommend reaching out to an attorney or another benefits specialist to help you respond. To contact the Fisher Phillips Benefits Group, please contact Tabatha George at 504-529-3845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) is pleased to announce that the Emeril Lagasse Foundation has contributed $15,000 to enhance the 2018-2019 LRAEF School Support Fund.
After listening to the needs of ProStart® educators, the LRAEF School Support Fund was created to bridge the gap between traditional state funding and educator needs for successful ProStart program implementation. The LRAEF is able to gain insight into the individual needs of Louisiana ProStart schools through this annual funding program, and award decisions are tailored to the greatest areas of need for the schools that apply. These funds are often used to create more diverse, hands-on, learning opportunities within culinary labs by giving students greater access to new equipment and a more extensive selection of perishables. Students are also provided access to unique learning opportunities through field trips, as well as practicing for and attending the annual Louisiana ProStart Student Invitational.
ProStart is a two-year program for students in more than 1,800 high schools nationwide that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime. In Louisiana, the ProStart program reaches more than 1,800 students in 55 high schools.
“The Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s generous gift will allow us to continue to provide the tools for unique educational experiences for our ProStart students,” said LRAEF Chair Paul Rotner. “We are very fortunate to have such a committed partner in Chef Emeril and his foundation to promote the culinary and restaurant industries as a viable and successful career path.”
This contribution brings the total funds donated to the LRAEF by the Emeril Lagasse Foundation since 2015 to $45,000.
The next round of ProStart School Support Fund awards will be distributed to eligible schools that apply in January 2019. Since 2014, the LRAEF has awarded $224,000 in school support funding to Louisiana ProStart programs.
“As the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s footprint continues to grow, we’re proud to invest those funds back into the New Orleans community,” said Brian Kish, president of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. “The Foundation’s ultimate goal is for the betterment of our youth, and the grants awarded to incredible organizations like LRAEF take us steps further each year.”
The LRAEF is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that was founded in 1995 and is governed by a board of directors made up of restaurants, industry experts and educators in the hospitality industry. The LRAEF exists to enhance the industry's service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Rachel Bolotte, email@example.com or (504) 636-6691.
2018 LRAEF Annual Partners: Five Diamond- Acme Oyster House, Auto-Chlor System, Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers; Four Diamond- Performance Foodservice- Caro; Three Diamond- Atmos Energy and Baton Rouge Epicurean Society; Two Diamond- Louisiana Gas Association; One Diamond- Katie Restaurant and Patrick J. Gros, CPA. The LRAEF would also like to thank the nine chapters of the LRA for their support throughout the year.
It's National Insurance Awareness Day! Do you think you don’t need workers’ compensation for your business? Think again.
The truth is…
Additional penalties and fines impact those employers found not in compliance with the state mandate:
Why choose the LRA SIF?
The Louisiana Legislature has enacted a sales tax bill in response to the state's budget crisis. Act 1 of the 2018 Third Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature is effective Sunday, July 1, 2018. The new state sales tax rate will be 4.45%, down from the current 5% state sales tax rate. In addition, they have continued to suspend many exemptions from the sales tax, but have aligned and expanded the exemptions that will remain effective as of July 1. Now, rather than having five different tax rates related to various exemptions, we will just have two rates, zero or 4.45% for most purchases.
State sales tax exemptions of note include the following, effective July 1, 2018:
The .45% sales tax imposed at La. R.S. §47:321.1 and the suspension of various sales tax exemptions will sunset on June 30, 2025.
504HealthNet, an association comprised of 23 non-profit and governmental organizations in the Greater New Orleans area, helps connect the community to affordable, quality health care. Its program, 504HealthConnect, helps residents navigate health insurance coverage, and also links residents with Community Health Centers where they see a primary care and/ or behavioral health care provider. Community Health Centers will treat everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. They take all types of insurance and use a sliding scale fee for the uninsured.
A health insurance program for every person:
In the Greater New Orleans region, there is a health insurance program for everyone, depending on your family size and income. 504HealthNet works to ensure residents are aware of their options, and assists people in signing up for Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act.
The following programs are available in the 504HealthNet Community:
Learn more about 504HealthNet, including a map of 60+ participating New Orleans Health Centers by clicking the box below.
Major healthcare savings and protections are on the horizon for the more than 11 million Americans who work for or own small businesses. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor finalized regulations to expand Small Business Health Plans – also known as Association Health Plans (AHPs). This expansion will help level the healthcare playing field for smaller to mid-size businesses – allowing owners and their employees to enjoy similar health coverage benefits as large employers.
For hardworking restaurant operators and workers across the country, this transformational change is coming not a moment too soon. As healthcare premiums continue to increase, these innovative plans can provide small businesses with negotiating power, reduced costs, and flexibility.
The new policy empowers small businesses to advocate for better, more affordable healthcare for themselves and their team members. By banding together in an AHP, small business owners from Seattle to New Orleans to Newark will now be able to purchase high quality insurance for a more affordable price. Of course, that will benefit their bottom line, as well as their local economies. More importantly, this will help millions of Americans and their families stay happy and healthy.
For the first time, this rule will allow smaller, local restaurants or retailers in a rural area to all participate in a single Small Business Health Plan in order to offer insurance to their employees. On average, a single employee premium in 2017 was $6,690 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That cost is up 133% since 2002, which is significantly higher than core inflation and wage increases. Due to these high costs, small businesses offering insurance dropped from 63% in 2006 to 56% in 2016. However, through AHPs, local coffee shop owners or restauranteurs from Raleigh to San Diego could join forces to create their own health plan.
We are already seeing the creation of plans like the Restaurant & Hospitality Association Benefit Trust, which offers members of the National Restaurant Association a selection of more than 120 plans with medical and specialty benefits, including wellness options. Restaurant owners and operators participating in the trust now enjoy a reduction of administrative costs through economies of scale, and they have strengthened their bargaining positions while enhancing their ability to self-insure.
Empowering small businesses to band together to offer affordable health coverage to their employees is a long overdue act that and will help millions of Americans. Moreover, this is proof that the answer to expanding access to affordable health care does not lie in increased federal spending, but instead in giving people the power to purchase the health care that best meets their needs.
Early champions, including President Donald Trump and U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, have made good on their promise to support the 11 million people employed by small businesses in America. Supporting AHPs serves those who serve us every day by giving small businesses who are priced out of the current healthcare system an opportunity to access affordable healthcare.
Ask any small business owner and they will tell you that their greatest asset is their employees, and one of their biggest costs is recruiting, training, and retaining top talent. As owners face an increasingly competitive hiring market, offering health coverage is increasingly important.
Keeping employees happy and healthy reduces turnover and keeps business’ bottom lines healthier too.
Dawn Sweeney is President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.
Do you know any young professionals that demonstrate talent, drive and service to the restaurant industry? The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) is now accepting nominations for its NEXTGEN 30 & UNDER Class of 2018, and we encourage LRA members to nominate individuals in our industry. The person must be 30 years old or younger in 2018 and work at a LRA Member establishment. Your nomination is anonymous, unless you decide to tell the nominee. You may nominate more than one candidate.
Deadline is Friday, June 29, 2018. Individuals will be featured in the EXPO issue of a la carte magazine and the LRA EXPO Opening Ceremony on Saturday, August 4, 2018. To nominate a deserving individual, click here.