40 Is the New Full Time | NACS – Magazine – Past Issues – 2014 – May 2014
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40 Is the New Full Time

NACS members’ grassroots support helped pass the legislation, which better defines a company’s responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act.

​By Jonathan Taets

The House of Representatives has declared that full-time work should be defined as a 40-hour week for purposes of calculating a company’s responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act.

On April 3, the House of Representatives voted 248-179 in favor of the Save American Workers Act of 2014, sponsored by Representative Todd Young (R-IN). This important legislation would amend the Affordable Care Act’s definition of a full-time employee from one who works 30 hours per week to one who works 40 hours per week. Moving this threshold would provide many of you the much-needed flexibility to continue to provide flexible work schedules and health insurance coverage to your employees.

The convenience industry was instrumental in supporting passage of this legislation, sending more than 1,500 letters of support to more than 300 members of Congress in the days leading up to the vote. This kind of grassroots support can and did make a difference.

The legislation now makes its way over to the Senate for consideration, although indications are not positive that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will allow the bill to be scheduled for a vote. The White House has issued (prior to the House vote) a notification that the president would veto the bill. NACS staff will continue to monitor the progress of this bill and keep you informed of any additional actions.

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Menu Labeling Gains Steam
A final rule is expected before year’s end, but language that could burden many convenience stores still needs modification.
By Jonathan Taets

Momentum continues to build in Congress on the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act. Since the NACS Government Relations Conference in February, when many attendees fanned out across Capitol Hill to educate legislators on the effects of the menu labeling legislation on our industry, it has gained 17 new co-sponsors in the House and three in the Senate.

Considering that the most recent draft rules published by FDA still contain language that would unduly burden many convenience stores, it remains a high priority to encourage additional members of Congress in both the House and the Senate to support the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, which would provide greater clarity and ensure a more responsible regulatory regime than that originally proposed by FDA. As a result, NACS retail members and NACS staff is continuing outreach to dozens of other congressional offices.

In recent events, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent their final rule — only a couple of years late! — to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review. This review is often the last step before a new federal regulation comes into effect, which means that retailers may receive, at long last, information about the details of this law. Generally, once a rule is submitted to OMB the office has 90 to 120 days to issue their approval. However, because this process often takes longer it’s possible we might have to wait until the end of the year.

NACS staff will continue to monitor the rules progress toward finalization and will keep you updated as it moves forward.

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SNAP Provisions
Anti-fraud efforts could require changes to point-of-sale technology in your stores.
By Jonathan Taets

Earlier this year, NACS and our members successfully fought to preserve the right of convenience retailers to participate in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Since that time, Congress amended the qualification requirements and directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop regulations that would work to eliminate the risk of fraud within the program. These anti-fraud efforts could rely upon changes to some technology in your stores.

In particular, the pending new anti-fraud rules will affect retailer point-of-sale systems. The law directed USDA to produce new regulations requiring that in-store POS systems be capable of automatically prohibiting the sale of ineligible items such as alcohol, inedible products or hot food items and be able to bar cashiers from overriding that technology.

Thankfully, because our industry is already vigilant in protecting against fraud, many of your systems already have this capability.

The rule will not take effect until it has been subjected to the formal regulatory review process at the USDA, which will take at least several months and provide time for any retailer who may not have such technology to begin upgrading their systems to ensure compliance.

The law also directed the Secretary of Agriculture to initiate two pilot programs meant to bring SNAP into the 21st century. The programs will test online purchases using SNAP benefits and the use of mobile to make such purchases. The deadline for completion of the pilot programs is July 1, 2016, with a requirement that the USDA file a report to Congress by January 1, 2017.