By Amy Campbell
After months of speculation, discussions and perhaps some panic by many small-business owners, including some in the self-storage industry, over The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, the U.S. government has taken a step back and pushed a key aspect of ACAs requirements to 2015.
Two weeks ago, the Obama Administration announced it was delaying the requirement date companies must meet when extending health insurance to their full-time employees. Commonly called the employer mandate, the provision would require all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide affordable health insurance or pay a $2,000 fine per employee. Originally set to go into effect in January 2014, the mandate will now be effective in January 2015.
While the White House calls the step back an opportunity for small-business owners to better prepare, some are speculating the extension spells bigger trouble for ACA. The grumblings even led President Obama to hold a press conference today to address the naysayers and point out favorable parts of ACA.
Regardless of our governments political fighting, the one-year reprieve does offer self-storage operators a breather to get their ducks in a row, so to speak. While the majority of self-storage owners likely dont employ 50 or more people, there are some big-name companies that will definitely be affected once the D.C. dust settles. To see who fits the 50 or more criteria, read this article from the ISS archives.
For smaller operators who will not be required to meet this part of ACA, there are still other concerns, most notably the fine for all U.S. employees who do not have health insurance. As noted in this ISS article, all taxpayers will be required to show proof of health insurance when paying their taxes or pay a penalty. If youre a self-storage owner without health insurance, that means you. And if anyone on your staff is uninsured, regardless if you offer it or not, theyll also be expected to pay the fine. While this expense is expected to be small in the first year, reportedly under $100, its still money out of your pocket and that of your employees.
If you dont currently offer insurance to your staff and dont fall under the 50 or more mandate, the introduction of ACA serves as an opportunity to assess the benefits you do currently provide your employees. Have you considered offering health insurance but deemed it too pricey? Paying all or even part of your employees health insurance can be an expensive endeavor, however, you should also consider the benefits of meeting this expense. An article on BizFilings.com notes companies that offer health insurance to their employees attract and retain higher-quality employees, gain tax advantages and help ensure the wellness of their staff.
Much like every other expense you undertake to operating your self-storage facilityfrom the truck parked out front to the roof covering your unitsyou need to seriously consider your staffing budget, including the bonuses and benefits you offer. Curb appeal and a great location will only get you so far. Your true assets are your self-storage managers. Pay them well. Treat them better.
Does your self-storage company offer employees health insurance? Post a comment below or share your view on Self-Storage Talk.