Big Apple Passes Grocer Health Coverage Mandate

August 18, 2005 ( - Retail companies that sell groceries would have to make substantial contributions toward their employees' health insurance coverage costs according to a bill that received overwhelming support in the New York City Council.

The legislation mandates that grocery stores with at least 35 workers and all other retailers devoting at least 10,000 square feet to food products contribute an amount equal to the prevailing employer health care contributions by New York City grocers, Business Insurance reported.

The bill provides that the city would survey the local labor market to pinpoint the amount. The Brennan Center for Justice, a New York public policy think tank, estimated that amount currently is about $2.50 to $3 per hour per employee.

Employers covered by the mandate could choose to contribute the funds to employees’ health savings accounts or to reimburse employees for their medical claims.

It is unclear if New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will sign the bill, believed to be the first of its kind, Business Insurance reported.