ERIC in the States

States and localities are becoming more aggressive in employee benefit mandates on private employers. With each new law or regulation it is becoming more and more difficult for large plan sponsors to maintain compliance.

Since 2015, ERIC has been the only national organization actively lobbying state and local governments on policies to support large employer so they retain flexibility to design and administer compensation and benefits to their nationwide workforce:

  • Paid sick and family leave – lobby to shape the rules to prevent mandates on reporting, notice, cash out and carryover requirements, and other compliance burdens
     
  • State mandates on benefit plans
    • State-run retirement plans – lobby and sue when necessary to avert mandates on employers already providing a retirement plan, including reporting requirements
    • State mandates on health or other benefit plans – lobby and sue when necessary to oppose mandates on employer benefit plans 
  • Assessments on health plan sponsors – oppose measures that tax or impose fees on plan sponsors for any reason, including to pay for reinsurance or other programs under state Section 1332 waivers from ACA rules
     
  • Telemedicine – lobby to ensure access to telemedicine for employees without requirements such as prior in-person visits, access only from preset sites, specific technology requirements
     
  • Biosimilars/Biologics – oppose state-level barriers for employees to access biosimilar medications
     
  • Minimum Wage – oppose minimum wage laws tied to employer health care offerings
ERIC’s successes have included:
 
  • Seattle, Washington: sued the City for placing a mandate on the level of health care large hotels must provide to employees. ERIC and the City have agreed to a temporary non-enforcement of the Initiative until the case is decided or the end of the year, whichever is earlier. The agreement is still in effect
     
  • Oregon: successfully sued the Oregon State Retirement Board over its employer reporting mandate. As a result, ERIC members are exempt from the OregonSaves reporting requirement
     
  • California: convinced state not to impose any mandate on employers already offering retirement plans
     
  • Texas: actively lobbied for telehealth in state and filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Teladoc, Inc. et al v. Texas Medical Board et al supporting the use of telemedicine. Governor Greg Abbott signed the telehealth bill into law in May 2017
     
  • New York City: fixed an unworkable standard in its paid family leave rules to allow for various flexible work arrangements
     
  • Albany, New York: we are urging legislators to narrow the definition of “family member,” reduce the minimum amount of earned sick time provided, and change carryover and frontloading policies
     
  • Arizona: we successfully averted mandatory cash out or carryover of unused sick leave, obtaining an option for employers to frontload all available leave
     
  • Austin, Texas: we successfully lobbied the City to make changes to its paid sick leave ordinance related to unused leave carryover, frontloading, waiting periods, and written disclosures of earned sick leave
     
  • Michigan: helped to repeal Michigan’s health insurance claims assessment
     
  • Louisiana: successfully lobbied and submitted testimony to kill a reinsurance program funded through an assessment on health insurers, health maintenance organizations, group self-insurers, and third-party administrators
     
  • New Jersey: worked with legislators to remove from two bills an assessment on carriers and third-party administrators to fund a reinsurance program
     
  • New Jersey: successfully urged Governor Chris Christie to veto legislation that would have expanded the state’s existing paid family leave laws, thereby creating unnecessary burdens on large employers
     
  • Massachusetts: successfully lowered the per employee fine under the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) from $2,000 to $750; unemployment insurance relief was also secured
     
  • Nevada: convinced the State Senate not to require employers to provide a written accounting of paid sick leave each payday. ERIC also secured additional flexibility for employers to determine whether to provide paid sick leave to temporary workers
     
  • Oklahoma: the state withdrew its innovation waiver application that would have placed an assessment on health insurers and employers to fund a reinsurance program in the state, after ERIC called for an exemption for ERISA plans

In addition to actively working in the states, ERIC created the State Mandate Action Program™ as a one-of-a-kind interactive resource that provides our members with real-time, actionable information on current and emerging state and local laws and regulations. The program is free to ERIC members and provides three layers of support:

  • Knowledge: Updated charts, maps, and explanations of existing state and local laws on eight state-focused employee benefits topics affecting large employers
     
  • Foresight: Alerts and up-to-the-minute details on proposed new rules that would change how you offer benefits or comply with state laws
     
  • Action: Advocacy and outreach to shape state and local rules to reduce or eliminate mandates, taxes and compliance burdens

Click here to learn more about ERIC's State Mandate Action Program™.