Small Business Requirements for Obamacare on October 1, 2013

The health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) will open on October 1, 2013.  Most small-business employers—those with 50 or fewer full-time employees—are not required to offer health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  Additionally, businesses with more than 50 full-time employees have gotten a reprieve from penalties if they don’t offer insurance for at least one-year. However, all companies, regardless of size, are required to notify their employees about the Obamacare health insurance marketplace.  The state and federal insurance exchanges are websites on which individuals and small businesses can shop for health plans.

Bottom line, at this time, as an employer, all you have to do is provide all of your employees with notice of the marketplace.  Although it’s not clear how the requirement will be enforced, as a recent Department of Labor notice suggests that employers will not be fined for not providing the notice (see a reference to the notice here).

The U.S. Department of Labor has posted information about the notification requirement on its website and has provided model notices that can be used both by employers who offer insurance (PDF) and by those who do not offer insurance (PDF).  Potentially, employers can draft a basic letter to employees and include the relevant notices provided by the Department of Labor.

The one- to three-page model notices can be downloaded, filled out, and printed, either for distribution in the office or for mailing to employees’ homes.  Employees who come on board after October 1, 2013, must get the notice within 14 days of their start date with the company. Although there is no requirement to prove that employees received notice, it may be a good idea to have the employees sign […]

Overview of Enforceability of Non Compete Agreements in Texas

Businesses of all sizes are looking increasingly to non-competition agreements as a means to retaining key employees, protecting confidential information and preserving valuable customer accounts. The concept is simple:  an employee agrees that, for a specified period of time after leaving the employer, he or she will not compete with or work for a competitor of the employer.

A typical agreement might prohibit John Smith from competing directly or indirectly with his employer, ABC Corp., or working for a competitor of ABC Corp., within Texas, for a 24-month period following the termination of Mr. Smith’s employment with ABC Corp.

Why Have an Agreement?

At first glance, such agreements may seem to make a lot of sense. The sudden loss of a key salesperson, for example, often creates a triple whammy.  First, a seasoned member of the sales team is gone, along with her in-depth knowledge of your business, your products, your pricing practices and your customers.  Second, the good will and positive customer relationships that the employee has developed over time are now gone.  Third, if the salesperson has been recruited by a competitor, a significant risk exists that she will be converting your accounts to your competitor’s while you spend considerable time recruiting and breaking in a replacement.  Losing an experienced member of management or R&D to a competitor can be equally devastating.

The existence of a solid non-competition agreement can often serve to deter employees from seriously exploring a jump to a competitor. An employee who thinks that a court may keep him from successfully landing with a new employer, may not risk the leap.  After all, most employees will want to avoid costly litigation against their former employer.  At the same time, the presence of […]