For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is pleased the City of Seattle has agreed to a temporary non-enforcement of the health coverage and payment mandates in Part 3 of the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative – SMC 14.25 (the Initiative). The agreement comes after ERIC filed a complaint last month in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against the City for obstructing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal law that enables large employers to administer health and retirement benefits uniformly across the country.
Under Part 3 of the Initiative, City hotels with at least 100 rooms must enroll employees (even if they have other coverage) in the equivalent of a gold-level medical policy on the Washington State insurance exchange at a cost of no more than five percent of their monthly gross taxable earnings or else provide additional compensation. ERIC’s lawsuit seeks to halt enforcement of Part 3 of the Initiative because it requires, uniquely for Seattle, a specified level of health plan benefits. If that level of benefits is not provided, City hotels must pay additional compensation to hotel employees.
“ERIC is pleased the City of Seattle has agreed to take no action to enforce Part 3 of the Initiative this year and to work cooperatively with us on a briefing schedule to ensure that the federal court can act expeditiously on this important case. We hope that today’s agreement is the first step in moving towards a solution that will not impose requirements on private health plans regulated by ERISA,” said Annette Guarisco Fildes, ERIC’s president and CEO.