This post was contributed by Kelley E. Kaufman, Esq., an Associate in McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC’s Labor & Employment Practice Group in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, the Obama administration announced a partial delay in the effective date of one of the key requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) – the employer “shared responsibility” requirements (a.k.a. “pay or play”). This marks the second delay of the effective date for these requirements, which was previously extended from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015. The shared responsibility requirements apply to "large employers" – i.e., those employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees, where "full-time" includes those employees working an average of 30 hours or more per week. Under the shared responsibility requirements, beginning January 1, 2015, large employers will be required to make a PPACA-compliant offer of health insurance coverage to all "full-time" employees and their dependents. Failure to comply with the shared responsibility requirements can result in significant penalties for employers.

Most notably, the final regulations, which will be formally published by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the "Department") this week, grant an additional reprieve to certain mid-sized employers with 50 to 99 full-time equivalent employees. Those mid-sized employers will not be required to comply with the shared responsibility requirement until 2016, while employers with 100 full-time equivalent employees are generally required to comply by January 1, 2015. The final regulations contain many additional clarifications on the implementation of the shared responsibility rules, including transitional rules intended to help phase-in and assist employers with compliance, as well as clarifications on the application of the rules to various employee categories, such as volunteers, educational employees, adjunct faculty and seasonal employees. The Department’s Fact Sheet, summarizing key points of the final regulations, can be found here.

Stay tuned to this blog for a more detailed summary of the final regulations.

Questions regarding the shared responsibility requirements or other specific PPACA compliance issues may be addressed to any member of McNees Wallace & Nurick’s Labor and Employment Law and Employee Benefits Practice Groups.