Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time employees must provide minimum essential health coverage to employees, or pay a nondeductible tax penalty, beginning in 2014. The law defines a “full-time employee” as someone working 30 or more hours per week. Now the IRS has issued new guidance on these “play-or-pay” rules for seasonal or variable workers. (IRS Notice 2012-58)
Under the new guidance, an employer can take up to 12 months to make a determination as to whether an employee must be classified as a full-time employee. Using the safe-harbor rules in the new ruling will protect employers for at least one year even if more restrictive standards are adopted before 2014.