Don’t Lose the Opportunity to Optimize Your Exposure to The Affordable Care Act

Among the many provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act), certain employers, as of January 1, 2014, must provide affordable, minimum essential healthcare coverage to their full-time employees. An employer that fails to comply and has a full time employee receive subsidized self –coverage is subject to penalties.

Why does time tracking matter?

Employers must consider two important questions related to the Act. The answers are based on the number of employees employed and the hours they work.

  • Question 1: Am I covered as an applicable large employer under the terms of the Act? and by a different measurement…
  • Question 2: Which employees are full time and eligible to receive healthcare coverage?

The IRS will not accept measurements based on payroll periods without considerable manipulation to align hours worked with specific month beginning and end.

Symphony provides tools with new features to automatically compute and track company and employee status according to the Affordable Care Act guidelines.

Why should I worry about this now?

Organizations have to hit the ground running on January 1, 2014. Their applicable large employer status is based on the number of full- time and full-time equivalent employees during a declared measurement period of consecutive months in 2013. (Beginning in 2014, the applicable large employer status is based on the entire calendar year.)

Full time employee status for insurance coverage in 2014 is based on service hours paid in 2013. Service hours include paid leave. This means employers should be looking at and managing their labor NOW to ensure the best possible outcome. Pay close attention to part time employees and their work patterns. This is particularly important in Massachusetts as the Affordable Care Act cut off is 30 hours vs. the current Mass Health definition of 35 hours.

Symphony has the tools you will need to automatically measure and manage employee eligibility and control your situation relative to the Affordable Care Act.

Who is affected?

Everyone!  All employers must determine their applicable “large employer” status, which is defined as an employer with 50 or more full time and full-time equivalent employees. Part-time employees are included in this calculation. Employers who meet this definition are subject to the insurance, penalty, and reporting mandates of the Affordable Care Act.

Unlike Massachusetts, Federal law defines multiple organizations under “Common Control”  or within an “Affiliated Service Group” as one organization when calculating the 50 employee trigger.

What is a full-time employee?

Employees who work on average 30 hours or more per week are considered full time under the Affordable Care Act. Full-time status can also be measured monthly. Employees working, on average, 130 hours or more per month are full time for the Affordable Care Act. Employers can choose weekly, monthly or alternatively a safe harbor measurement period.

What is a full-time equivalent?

Part-time employees contribute to the applicable large employer 50 employee trigger. The number of hours worked by part-time employees in a month divided by 120 yields the number of full-time equivalent employees. The calculated full-time equivalent number is only for determining a company’s applicable large employee status. This number is not included in calculating penalties.

Can I automate all the tracking?

Symphony provides unique automated tracking tools for employers with the following capabilities:

Symphony has the tools to do the calculation work for you. Our Solution has new views and reports designed specifically for Affordable Care Act reporting:

  • Employer Status is automatically calculated over the selected measurement period to determine Employer status under the Affordable Care Act
  • Average monthly hours and employee full-time status is calculated automatically.
  • Employee average weekly hours is updated automatically each week.
  • Measurement and reporting time frames(measurement, administrative, and stability periods) are built into the system.
Keeping Pace with the Year-End Process

Keeping Pace with the Year-End Process

As the calendar pages fall away, the final quarter of the calendar year is approaching the final month tomake sure everything is addressed properly. Now is the time to assess progress with closing out thepayroll year and to take stock of what still needs to be...

read more
MA Extends COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Mandate

MA Extends COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Mandate

Just hours before expiration, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation extending the mandate for state employers to continue providing emergency paid leave related to COVID-19. These COVID-19 paid leave obligations will now continue until April 1, 2022. MA...

read more
Update on MA PFML: Benefits Increase While Rates Fall

Update on MA PFML: Benefits Increase While Rates Fall

There have been recently announced changes to the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave laws. On October 1, 2021, the Department of Family and Medical Leave announced that starting in 2022, the maximum benefit under PFML will increase, yet employer contributions...

read more
Federal & MA COVID-19 Leave Laws Set to Expire September 30

Federal & MA COVID-19 Leave Laws Set to Expire September 30

As of September 27, 2021, both the federal and the Massachusetts COVID-19 leave laws are set to expire on September 30, 2021, and it does not appear that either the Federal or State legislatures will be extending these laws. Click here for information on the specifics...

read more
Understanding When to Use a State W-4

Understanding When to Use a State W-4

What is a State W-4 Form? A state W-4 Form is a state-specific tax document that serves as a guide for employees to calculate their state tax withholding requirements that translates into a specific amount based on each paycheck to go towards state taxes. It works...

read more
Protect your Business with Periodic Payroll Audits

Protect your Business with Periodic Payroll Audits

For many small and medium-sized businesses, processing payroll presents the greatest risk for costly errors and the least protected financial activity when it comes to potential fraud. Both exposures can be well managed with a periodic payroll audit. Use the Symphony...

read more