mother with toddler daughter visiting smiling doctor

2019 ‘Pay or Play’ Affordability Percentage Set at 9.86%

Percentage Up from 2018

Under the employer shared responsibility (“pay or play”) provisions of the Affordable Care Act, applicable large employers—generally those who had 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees)—may be subject to a penalty if they do not offer affordable coverage that provides minimum value to their full-time employees and their dependents. For plan years beginning in 2019, the Internal Revenue Service has announced that coverage will generally be considered affordable if the employee’s required contribution for the lowest cost self-only health plan offered is 9.86% or less of his or her household income for the taxable year. For plan years beginning in 2018, the applicable percentage is 9.56%.

Given that employers are unlikely to know an employee’s household income, they may use a number of safe harbors to determine affordability, including reliance on Form W-2 wages.

Check out our Affordability & Minimum Value page for additional details.

business people walking around crowded office space

Planning for Workplace Emergencies

You may not expect an emergency or natural disaster to occur in the workplace, but it is important to be prepared because dangerous situations can strike at any time and with little or no warning. OSHA regulations require that almost every business develop an emergency action plan. Having an emergency action plan in place is key to preventing a disorganized evacuation or emergency response that could result in confusion, injury, and property damage.

What is a Workplace Emergency?

A workplace emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down your operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Emergencies may be natural or manmade and include the following:

  • Floods
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Fires
  • Toxic gas releases
  • Chemical spills
  • Radiological accidents
  • Explosions
  • Civil disturbances, and
  • Workplace violence resulting in bodily harm and trauma

Protecting Your Employees and Your Business

The best way to protect your employees and your business from a natural disaster or other dangerous situation is to prepare to respond to an emergency before it happens. Few people can think clearly and logically in a crisis, so it is important to do so in advance, when you have time to be thorough.

Brainstorm the worst-case scenarios. Ask yourself what you would do if the worst happened. What if a fire broke out in your boiler room? Or a hurricane hit your building head-on?  Once you have identified potential emergencies, consider how they would affect you and your workers and how you would respond.

How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies

OSHA and the Department of Labor have developed a very useful guide called How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies that can help you protect your company in the case of an emergency or natural disaster. The following links contain additional information that may be helpful in developing an emergency action plan and in taking other steps to keep your company and employees safe.

Guidance for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers