Being prepared might prove tricky; each staffing company’s situation and circumstances are different and there’s no single answer how the law will apply. Regardless, you’re either the steamroller or part of the road. Rather than remain frozen by fear of the unknown, staffing firms can make sure they are handling the insurance and health care issue by having a clear understanding of the implications:
*Determine if you are an applicable large employer. A large employer is defined as a business that has 50 or more full-time employees, but it’s a little more complicated than that. There are special considerations and definitions for seasonal workers as well as full-time equivalent workers. Applicable large employers will be required to pay the excise tax if one of their employees purchased health insurance through a state exchange and a tax credit or cost-sharing reduction is allowed or paid to the employee.
*It is not mandatory to provide coverage. Firms can opt out of providing coverage, but if they elect that option, they need to be prepared to pay a penalty.
*Grandfathered plans are good to go. During the health care debate, President Obama made it clear, “if you like your health plan, you can keep it.” Group health plans in existence when the law was passed are not subject to certain reform provisions. While employers can make some changes to demonstrate compliance, they also need to understand which changes could affect their grandfathered status, such as reducing contributions to employees’ health insurance premiums by more than five percentage points.
*Consider the cost concerns. Will you need to raise rates in response to reform? Will those costs be passed on to clients? What impact will that have on service levels and profitability? Not only do businesses need to think through a potential rise in expenses, but how to adjust the business model so they can remain competitive.
*Workforce management should be a priority for small businesses. A temporary worker who works with one agency for fewer than 120 days is considered seasonal. Companies do not need to include seasonal employees in their head count. Businesses with seasonal models will need to track and manage schedules to ensure compliance with hours and wages or risk paying fines for workers that work too many days.