The nightmare continues

From 18 pages of new guidelines from your government:

this notice…Expands the safe harbor method described in a previous notice to provide employers the option to use a look-back measurement period of up to 12 months to determine whether new variable hour employees or seasonal employees are full-time employees, without being subject to a payment under § 4980H for this period with respect to those employees. An employee is a variable hour employee if, based on the facts and circumstances at the date the employee begins providing services to the employer (the start date), it cannot be determined that the employee is reasonably expected to work on average at least 30 hours per week. (The 30 hours per week average reflects the statutory definition of full-time employee in § 4980H(c)(4) and is the definition of “full-time employee” as used in this notice.) Seasonal employee is defined in section III.D.5, below…

Simultaneously with the issuance of this notice, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (the Departments) are jointly providing administrative guidance under § 2708 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act). PHS Act § 2708 applies to group health plans and group health insurance issuers and provides that any waiting period under a group health plan must not exceed 90 days. To clarify how the PHS Act § 2708 90-day waiting period limitation coordinates with § 4980H, this notice applies portions of the Departments’ separate and simultaneous PHS Act § 2708 guidance. DOL and HHS concur in the application of PHS Act § 2708 in this notice.

This notice consists of a background section briefly summarizing the § 4980H and PHS Act § 2708 statutory framework and the administrative guidance issued to date (section II); a description of the safe harbors available for employers for determining full-time employee status in the case of ongoing employees and newly hired variable hour and seasonal employees (including the transition from newly-hired to ongoing employees and a series of examples illustrating how the safe harbors apply) (section III); a description of the reliance provided to employers through at least 2014 (section IV); and a request for comments (section V)…

No inference should be drawn from any provision of this notice concerning any other provision of § 4980H or any other provision of the Affordable Care Act.

Robert Samuelson explains that a quater of those employed in the US are part-time, and 10 million or so — and the businesses that employ them — may be negatively impacted by these mind-numbing regulations. But “Affordable” and “Care” sound so nice!

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