Healthy San Francisco: Wouldja Like An Employee Voluntary Waiver with Those Fries?
I’ve not only criticized the Healthy San Francisco employer “pay or play” mandate that has dropped a payroll tax of $1.17 to $1.76 per hour on the city’s struggling businesses; I’ve actually proposed an alternative.
But…..they went ahead and did it anyway. Pending the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s legal appeal next April, the City is able to lay its health tax on businesses. Of course, the monetary payroll tax is only one element of the transfer of income from those who produce it to the city’s public health bureaucracy; there’s also the cost of compliance.
Let’s start with the fact that, while small employers are taxed slightly less than larger ones, the tax is calculated on a business’s entire workforce, not just the employees in San Francisco, so if you’ve got ten workers in San Francisco and 90 elsewhere, you’re a large employer.
Fortunately for befuddled employers, a benefits consultant has just published a handy memo on Healthy San Francisco’s compliance issues. It’s even got it’s own acronyms: ESR (Employer Spending Requirement), HCSO (Health Care Security Ordinance), and EVW (Employee Voluntary Waiver).
The EVW, if I understand it correctly, is for workers who are enrolled in their spouse’s health plan at another employer. Also, “management, supervisory, or confidential employees” who earn more than $76,851 in 2008 are exempt, too.
But don’t forget, your first quarterly report to the City, with all your headcount and payroll tax calculations, with payment attached, is due on April 30. So, go ahead and hire someone to do that for you – preferably someone well connected with the bureaucracy at the City Department of Public Health.
Oh, and while you’re at it, you might want to catch up on San Francisco’s new dining trend, a health surcharge on the bills, which I guess is a more politically correct way of passing on the tax hike than raising menu prices directly