Countdown-to-ACAContinuing our coverage of the star of the ASA Staffing Law Conference (the Affordable Care Act), we’re looking ahead to next year, and which employees must be covered by then.

So who has to be covered in 2015? As with so many other things related to the ACA, the answer is: it’s complicated.

  • Ongoing employees who worked full-time (1560 hours) during at least one 12-month period must be enrolled by Jan. 1, 2015
  • New Non-Variable (we’ll talk about that more in a bit) employees who started work in 2014 must be enrolled by Jan. 1, 2015
    • Unless they started after Oct. 1, 2014; if they did, they’d be enrolled within 90 days of their start date
  • Variable employees are subject to a look-back review to see if they qualify for full-time employee (1560 hours) status

Now, what is a Variable or Non-Variable employee? Well, that one’s crucial for the staffing industry because so many of our employees are Variable.

“Variable” in this case doesn’t mean undependable. Here’s its official definition: “Employees who, based on the facts and circumstances on their start date, the employer can’t reasonably determine will be employed an average at least 30 hours of service per week during the initial measurement period because the employee’s hours are variable or otherwise uncertain.” Sound familiar?

When would a staffing employee not be considered Variable? If they were replacing a full-time employee, or filling a position with hours that vary above 30 a week, then they’re standard employees. Otherwise, though, our industry is full of potential Variable employees.

So what does that actually mean? It means that if you are reasonably certain that the employee won’t be employed at least 30 hours a week during the measurement period (12 months works best for staffing companies), you don’t have to offer them coverage automatically. Instead, their hours should be reviewed to see if they meet the 1560-a-year limit. If so, they must be enrolled; if not, you can offer them coverage, but you don’t have to.

Simple, right? Well, if it helps, COATS keeps track of all your employees’ hours and flags them for your notice if they start to near the 1560-hour mark. So that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about!

If you’d like to learn more about how COATS works with the ACA, schedule a demo and see how it can save you time, money and sanity.

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