The ACA, Time & Attendance and Part-Timers

Target Corp. recently announced that, starting on April 1, 2014, it will no longer offer health coverage to part-time employees. Other employers with significant part-time employee populations need to make a similar assessment.

Under the health care reform law known as the Affordable Care Act, employers must provide minimum essential coverage (MEC) to full-time employees, starting in 2015. The definition of a full-time employee is one who works an average of at least 30 hours per week. Failure to provide MEC to full-time employees can result in a shared responsibility payment if an employee obtains subsidized health coverage through the ACA's Health Insurance Marketplace. There is no ACA penalty for failure to provide health coverage to part-time employees.

Target gave two main reasons for dropping health coverage for part-time employees:

  • Eligibility for Target health insurance made the group ineligible for subsidized coverage in the Marketplace
  • Participation in the part-time plan was less than 10 percent

Target is providing currently enrolled employees a $500 cash payment. Target is the latest of several large employers to make this decision. United Parcel Service Inc., Trader Joe's Co. and Home Depot Inc. made similar announcements.

Employers who go down this road need to be careful. A key concern is knowing who your part-time employees are under the ACA. For employees whose hours vary, employers must use a look-back measurement period of up to 12 months to determine full-time or part-time status. Proposed regulations were issued in January 2013. Final regulations should be issued this year.

The importance of attendance management has never been higher. Time and attendance software can help employers with crucial headcount planning and health coverage issues. Does your current timekeeping system meet this standard? If not, consider a comprehensive solution from TimeForce. For more information, click here.

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