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Administration Signals Flexibility in Defining “Full-Time” Employee for Purposes of Health Care Coverage

American Staffing Association (02/10/12) Ed Lenz

ASA and its business allies in the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care coalition have been working to mitigate the effect of the Affordable Care Act on employers with large numbers of part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees. ASA has been urging the Obama administration to issue regulations requiring employees to work up to a full year before they can be considered full-time for purposes of an employer’s obligation under the act to offer health insurance coverage to employees or pay penalties.

Yesterday, the Obama administration took a significant step in a positive direction for the staffing industry. In questions and answers issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, the administration outlined the proposed guidance expected to be issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department for defining who is a “full-time employee.” The proposed rules are complex and may be challenging to administer, and several technical questions remain as to how they will work in practice. But they appear to give employers substantial flexibility and reasonable discretion in determining who must be offered health coverage.

ASA will be analyzing the FAQs in detail and will provide thorough analysis to its members in the coming days. The coalition will submit comments to the administration as appropriate.