Farmers who use temporary migrant labor would avoid paying penalties for not providing health insurance under an amendment from U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan that is part of the Senate’s health reform bill.
Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, submitted the amendment during the final full day of business in the Senate health committee Tuesday, Barb Barrett reports. The committee Wednesday approved its portion of the massive health reform bill.
Under the bill, employers with more than 25 employees who do not provide health insurance are subject to penalties – $750 for each full-time worker and $375 for each part-time worker.
Hagan’s amendment, promoted by the American Farm Bureau Federation, would protect small family farms — those that normally employ fewer than 25 workers — from paying those health insurance fees when they have seasonal spikes in labor.
"Small family farms often only need help for short periods of time — sometimes as few as two or three weeks a year," Hagan said in a statement. "The average small farmer employs about 40 seasonal workers, bringing them temporarily over the employee limits in this bill. This amendment will fairly protect small family farms."