The U.S. Department of Treasury has issued Final Regulations implementing the Employer Responsibility rules of the Affordable Care Act. Generally, the rules provide a gradual phase-in and other transitional relief as follows:
- The employer responsibility provision will generally apply to larger firms with 100 or more full-time employees starting in 2015 and employers with 50 or more full-time employees starting in 2016
- To avoid a payment for failing to offer health coverage, employers need to offer coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent in 2016 and beyond, helping employers that, for example, may offer coverage to employees with 35 or more hours, but not yet to that fraction of their employees who work 30 to 34 hours.
Among other things, the final regulations also provide clarifications regarding whether employees of certain types or in certain occupations are considered full-time, including:
- Volunteers: Hours contributed by bona fide volunteers for a government or tax-exempt entity, such as volunteer firefighters and emergency responders, will not cause them to be considered full-time employees.
- Educational employees: Teachers and other educational employees will not be treated as part-time for the year simply because their school is closed or operating on a limited schedule during the summer.
- Seasonal employees: Those in positions for which the customary annual employment is six months or less generally will not be considered full-time employees.
- Student work-study programs: Service performed by students under federal or state-sponsored work-study programs will not be counted in determining whether they are full-time employees.