You know the score.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) now makes it mandatory for the vast majority of employers to either offer a healthcare plan that meets its minimum requirements or pay costly penalties.
Let’s be honest. The legislation is extremely complex – especially when it comes to the temporary employees supplied by staffing agencies. So if your organization uses contingent workers, you must be abundantly cautious to make sure that:
- you understand your legal requirements;
- workers are properly classified;
- your staffing supplier offers a qualifying plan under ACA requirements.
When it comes to compliance issues, it’s always best to consult a qualified attorney. But Berks & Beyond is here to help, too. While this post is not intended as legal advice, it does offer 4 practical ACA compliance tips when using temporary employees.
Review your staffing contracts.
- Make sure your current contracts with staffing agencies clearly assign responsibility for ACA compliance to the agency, which serves as the employer of record – and is therefore responsible for providing required coverage to its workers.
- When reviewing the contract, ensure that it shows an understanding of the law’s tenets and adequately clarifies the healthcare coverage the employment agency offers its workers.
Ask the right questions.
To verify that your staffing service fully complies with ACA requirements, determine answers to the following:
- Is the staffing agency exempt from ACA?
- (If not) Does the employment agency “pay” or “play”?
- (If agency “plays”) Are its healthcare plans both compliant and affordable, as set forth by ACA?
- Does the staffing service use recorded hour information to determine benefits eligibility as per the mandate?
- What controls does the staffing firm have in place to track: eligibility dates; making offers of coverage; when its employees should be terminated from coverage?
Address any co-employment concerns.
Work with your counsel to protect yourself from liabilities arising from “common law employee” issues:
- Understand limits on assignment length.
- Make sure staffing contracts specify that workers work solely for the employment agency.
- Verify that the employment agency obtains written acknowledgement from its employees that the agency is their employer of record.
- Ensure that the staffing service alone manages HR-related worker issues such as compensation, performance and time off.
- Read this earlier post on co-employment to learn more.
Validate worker information.
- Make sure each temporary employee’s onboarding documentation confirms the healthcare plan the employment agency offers.
- Verify the “look-back” period the staffing agency used to determine whether or not the employee is eligible for healthcare benefits.
- If an assignment is extended, ensure the staffing agency re-evaluates the worker’s eligibility status.
- Document your validation and assessment process in case of an audit.
Trust Berks & Beyond
As a leading Carlisle employment agency, we offer ACA compliant solutions to help protect your organization – and get your work done. Rest assured that our health plans are compliant, affordable and meet all ACA requirements for 2015 – and beyond!