Counting Employees under the Affordable Care Act’s Pay-or-Play Provisions
Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk
Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Coverage
Employers subject to the Affordable Care Act’s Employer Shared Responsibility provisions may be assessed a penalty if they do not offer affordable health coverage that provides a minimum level of coverage to their full-time employees and their dependents. Whether an employer is subject to these pay-or-play provisions depends on the number of people it employs. When counting employees, however, there are specific rules that must be followed.
An employer is generally considered an “Applicable Large Employer” subject to the pay-or-play provisions if it employed an average of at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), on business days during the preceding calendar year. To determine whether an employer is considered an Applicable Large Employer for a calendar year:
1) Add the total number of full-time employees for each calendar month in the preceding calendar year, and the total number of Full Time Equivalent employees for each calendar month in the preceding calendar year.
2) Divide the sum by 12.
3) If the result is not a whole number, round it down to the next lowest whole number
If the result of this calculation is less than 50, the employer is not considered an Applicable Large Employer for the current calendar year. If the result is 50 or more, the employer is an Applicable Large Employer for the current calendar year.
[Note that transition relief was provided to qualifying employers with an average of 50-99 full-time and full-time equivalent employees on business days during 2014, so that they will not be assessed a penalty in 2015.]
The first step to counting employees is identifying full-time and full-time equivalent employees. A full-time employee, with respect to a calendar month, is an employee who works an average of at least 30 hours per week, or 130 hours in a calendar month. A full-time equivalent employee isn’t an actual person. Rather, it’s a term used to describe the combination of all non-full-time employees who are counted as the equivalent of a full-time employee.
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Affordable Care Act
, Group Health
, Health Coverage
, Health Insurance