Date: Apr 01, 2013
Magazine:
April 2013 - WG Tool Box to Aid Growers with Data

Dear Jon:

We have a number of seasonal employees that work for us and we are concerned about whether they qualify for coverage.  Are we required to provide coverage for seasonal employees?

Perplexed in Porterville

 

Dear Perplexed:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Health Care Reform”) requires that large employers offer qualifying coverage to substantially all of their full-time employees and their dependents (children to age 26 but not spouses).

The term seasonal employee is not yet defined for purposes of Health Care Reform’s employer pay or play mandate, so you can in good faith rely on definitions already announced by the Department of Labor.  Employees that you have deemed seasonal, however, may in fact be full-time employees based on the number of hours worked.  Keep in mind that a full-time employee is defined as an individual that works on average 30 hours per week (“Full-Time Employee”).

You can require seasonal employees to comply with hours banked or cumulative hour eligibility requirements that you implement.  If the cumulative hour requirements (hours banked) are not used, you can impose a 3-12 month measurement period followed by a 1-month waiting period before allowing enrollment of Full-Time seasonal employees.

During this 3- 12 month measurement period, you would measure a seasonal employee’s hours of service.  If the seasonal employee works on average 30 hours per week (e.g. 1,560 hours in a 12-month measurement time period) you would treat the seasonal employee as a Full-Time Employee after his 1-month waiting period.

At the end of the 1-month waiting period, you would offer the seasonal employee the opportunity to enroll in coverage like any other Full-Time Employee for a period of time equal to the measurement period, but in no event less than six months.  This period of eligibility is known as the Stability Period.

Importantly, the seasonal employee would maintain eligibility during the Stability period regardless of the number of hours worked (as long as employee status is maintained, the individual must be employed to be covered).

 

(Editor’s Note: Dear Jon is a new WG&S series devoted to answering all your health-care related questions.  As we continue to move into uncertain waters, Western Growers Compliance Counsel Jonathan D. Alexander is here to help.  Specializing in Health Care Reform, all things PPACA and more, Jon will answer your questions however small or big they seem.  To submit your question, write dearjon@wga.com.

WG Staff Contact

Jonathan Alexander
Vice President & PCMI Compliance
949-885-2330

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