If you’re an employer, what you have to do to comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules depends on the size of your workforce. When you have 50 or more full-time employees – a total that can include seasonal workers – you have to deal with additional reporting and coverage requirements known as the “employer shared responsibility” provisions. Those provisions mean you need to offer a minimum level of affordable health coverage to full-time employees and their dependents. Otherwise you may have to pay a penalty, if even one of your full-time employees receives a tax credit for buying individual coverage on the government health insurance website.
What’s a full-time employee? A worker who averages 30 or more hours per week (or 130 hours per month) is considered full-time. But you also need to consider “full-time equivalent” employees. You can determine how many full-time equivalent employees you have by multiplying the number of part-time employees by average hours worked, and dividing the result by the hours required for full-time status. For example, 20 employees working an average of 15 hours per week are equivalent to 10 full-time employees (20 employees times 15 hours divided by 30 hours).
Seasonal employees are generally included in the computation. However, there is an exception you’ll want to be aware of. Say your workforce exceeds 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employees for 120 days or fewer during a calendar year. If, during that period, the employees in excess of 50 were seasonal workers, you’re generally not subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions. What if your workforce exceeds the limit? You may have to offer health insurance to seasonal workers who meet specific weekly work-hour requirements during a look-back “measurement period.” The measurement period is a specified number of months during which you track an employee’s hours.
ACA requirements apply to nearly every employer in some form, and the rules get complicated quickly. Please contact us for details.