Small businesses hoping to avoid the high costs of ObamaCare by switching to part-time employees got some unwelcome news last Thursday, as Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reported that the Small Business Administration launched a website to explain to employers the federal government will add up the number of part-time staff employed to determine if enough hours have been worked to meet the “full-time equivalent” criterion.
Though President Obama has unilaterally suspended the employer mandate for one year, many companies that were anticipating it going into effect October 1st are moving ahead with their plans to lessen the impact on their businesses.
Some businesses believed that if they could get their number of full-time staff to under 50, they could avoid activating ObamaCare mandates by cutting full-time workers and hiring more part-timers. Confusion about the employer mandate calculation has been widespread.
Said Matthew Haller of the International Franchise Association, “while its nice the administration has launched a new website, employers have been scrambling since the law was passed two plus years ago for answers to the laws complicated calculations for determining if they are ‘large’ employers and how many ‘full-time equivalent employees’ they have. The uncertainty created by the [health care act] continues to cause franchises and other small businesses to hit the pause button on job creation.”
Keeping in mind that, under ObamaCare, a “full-time” work week is only 30 hours, the SBA website provides an example:
Company X has 40 full-time employees working 40 hours per week, along with 20 part-time employees working 15 hours per week. The 20 part-time employees are counted as 10 full-time equivalent employees. Company X has 50 full-time employees and is subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions.
The rules are a “problem for employers at the margin” of 50 full-time workers, said Edmund F. Haisimaier of the Heritage Foundation. In addition, the mandates include seasonal employees, so even if a business with seasonal workers has the equivalent of 50 full-time workers for only 121 days, ObamaCare requirements are activated for that business.