With 83 percent of the public planning to take at least one summer trip this year, CEO of Choice Hotels International Steve Joyce appeared on CNBC to discuss what hotels are anticipating out of this summer season and what remains the biggest concerns for franchisees.
“Even though people are growing more confident about their jobs and planning to take vacations, most of the public remains cautionary about where the economy is going,” explains Joyce. As the impact of the health care bill is significant to all employers, Joyce states that his franchisees remain worried about taxation, health care and a positive immigration outcome. “They want to make sure the government is helping them create jobs and not preventing them from doing so,” Joyce explains.
The Capital Area Franchise Association (CAFA) held its monthly networking lunch this week that included an informative panel on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and steps employer can take to prepare for compliance in 2014. The overwhelming consensus: if you haven’t already started preparing, you should.
CAFA, a network of franchisees and franchisors in the DC, Maryland and Virginia areas, hosted the event in Tyson’s Corner, VA and assembled a panel comprised of four unique perspectives. A franchisee, a franchisor, an accountant and an insurance broker contributed to the panel to clarify some of the ACA’s more confusing provisions and describe what effective action plans look like.
Chris Frye, a Virginia-based CPA with Yount, Hyde & Barbour, explained that effective ACA planning involves making a string of strategic decisions, and that business owners should make these decisions while surrounded by trusted advisors. Mark Carrier, President of the Maryland multi-unit hotel franchisee B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, added that no business will be unaffected the employer mandate. Although some businesses may not be required to provide coverage to employees, every business will see changes to the way they operate. CAFA President Joe Caruso stressed the need for prompt action on ACA compliance, with open enrollment for state exchanges beginning in October 2013.
As compliance deadlines approach, franchise owners need resources and materials to begin understanding how the employer mandate will impact their businesses. IFA’s new website, www.MakingSenseofHealthCare.org, contains tools and information for employers to determine which aspects of the employer mandate they are responsible for complying with, testimonials from franchise industry leaders about how they are adjusting their business and workforce to comply with the law, and an interactive feature to chat with IFA government relations staff in real-time to answer questions about the law. The site is sponsored by the Hylant Group.
Eager to learn what is affecting franchise businesses in legislative, policy,
marketing and economic areas? Three times a week, those following the franchise industry can get the latest news in IFA’s news bulletin, IFA SmartBrief. Published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it includes such categories as franchise news, best practices and business leadership, news from IFA, trends watch and a policy and finance update.
With a circulation of 25,000, the brief provides tips to help better operate
your franchise business, as well as share the activities IFA is conducting on Capitol Hill to promote the industry and counter policies and regulations that would stifle franchise businesses in their local communities.
The brief, easy-to-ready summaries spotlight what your peers and competitors are doing to expand, update or rebuild their brands. There are many media sources and include major media such as the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, trade publications include QSR and Adweek and broadcast outlets such as FOX Business News and CNBC. Articles provide tips on taking advantage of social media, improving your credit, listening to customer feedback and more.
As full implementation of Obamacare is set to go into effect next year, small businesses and specifically franchise owners are doing everything they can to understand the new law, while still trying to grow and create jobs. IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira spoke with radio host Mark Carbonaro on FOX News Radio to explain how this law will affect franchise owners who are already living in a challenging economic climate.
“The health care law is anything but affordable for small employers, but the law is here to stay, so we are trying to work with the White House to educate them before full implementation begins,” explains Caldeira. “As an industry that is projected to create 162,000 new jobs and over 10,000 establishments, we need some flexibility with the law.”
Businesses that hire younger and lower skilled workers are now putting a ceiling on the work week of below 30 hours, as to avoid high penalty costs. These ‘29er’s’ as they have been called, are the workers that are really going to be affected because their hours will be cut. Yet as Caldeira explains, it is not because employers don’t want to offer insurance; it is out of necessity just to stay in business. “Companies are going to have to look at their business model and in order to remain profitable, will have to move people to part time.”
Small business owners will be forced to either stay under the 50 employee threshold or keep workers under 30 hours per week to avoid penalties and neither is optimal for a country that desperately needs jobs. “These arbitrary markers create perverse economic incentives. Where is the motivation for employers to grow and expand their business?” Caldeira asks.
This time next year, the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual and employer mandates, will be in full effect. Even earlier, in October of this year, the first Health Insurance Marketplaces will open. 2014 will see tax hikes, regulations, paperwork, and headaches for franchise small business owners across the country.
The 2013 IFA Convention in Las Vegas will feature a session entitled “The Health Care Law and Your Business: What You Need to Know.” Hear the perspective of a multi-unit franchisee, a health care policy expert, and a veteran insurance broker in a terrific panel that will explore the ACA’s impact on franchising, the most newest health care regulations, and how franchise owners can prepare for 2014.
To expand its education efforts surrounding the ACA, IFA is offering to help franchise companies host webinars on ACA employer requirements for franchisees and other stakeholders. These hour-long sessions include information on key definitions, tax penalties, communications strategies and other topics as well as a Q&A session with a health care expert from Washington Council Ernst & Young. For more information on this member service, please contact IFA’s Kevin Serafino at firstname.lastname@example.org.