EXTRA-HELP USAGE AND THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Department Use of Extra-Help Employees
On January 13, 2015 and June 7, 2016, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors reiterated County policy that the use of Extra-Help employees should:
- be of limited duration;
- not be used as a first response to staffing requirements;
- not supplant work regularly performed by permanent employees; and,
- only be used to meet the critical, seasonal, or temporary work needs of departments on a limited basis.
Limits on Hours Worked by Extra-Help Employees
As of July 4, 2016, the usage of any individual on an extra-help basis is limited to a maximum of 28 hours worked per week (including overtime hours) and a maximum of 960 hours worked per calendar year (except seasonal and pre-authorized classifications, and as waived by the Board of Supervisors).
Departments will need to request a waiver before the Board of Supervisors for any extra-help employee who will work more than 960 hours per calendar year and/or more than 28 hours per week, unless the employee is in a seasonal or pre-authorized classification.
Affordable Care Act Compliance
The County has adopted extra-help limitations to ensure compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) and to limit any ACA assessable payments that can be imposed upon the County. The County currently offers insurance to all employees in permanently allocated positions designated as working 20 hours or more per week (i.e., over 95% of all County employees meet ACA requirements).
Accordingly, the County’s potential exposure to any ACA penalty is associated with Extra-Help employees who are working full-time, as defined by the ACA (30 hours or more per week), and who are not offered health insurance coverage by the County. As a result of feedback from departments, there is a continued need, in limited situations, to utilize Extra-Help employees on a full-time basis as approved by the Board or as pre-authorized within the Salary Resolution. Therefore, in the FY 2016-17 Recommended Budget, applicable departments included an amount sufficient to cover any potential ACA-related payment which could be assessed to the County. The current maximum is $3,240 if a “full-time” Extra-Help employee who is not offered health insurance accesses Covered California health insurance and qualifies for an ACA low-income premium subsidy.
Department Representative Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the departments to ensure that they are utilizing extra-help employees as directed by the Board and as delineated in the Personnel Rules and Salary Resolution. Departments are expected to monitor hours worked by extra-help employees to ensure that they are not working more than 960 hours per calendar year and/or more than 28 hours per week, unless the employees are in a seasonal or pre-authorized classification or have obtained extra-help waivers from the Board. eReport PERFXTRB or PeopleSoft Customer Query BEN_XTR_YTD_HOURS_2016 can be utilized by departments to monitor hours in addition to timesheet records in PeopleSoft. Departments are responsible for requesting extra-help waivers before the Board.
Human Resources Responsibilities
The County has adopted safe harbors to provide the mechanism for the Department of Human Resources to measure health insurance affordability and make determinations of full-time status of employees under the ACA.
The ACA requires that employers offer “affordable” health insurance to their employees who work an average of 30 service hours per week. Employers determine if the coverage is considered affordable if the employee’s share of the lowest cost employee-only premium does not exceed the indexed threshold of the employee’s household income. The County has adopted a safe harbor for determining affordability utilizing the employee’s monthly rate of pay as of the first day of the coverage period.
The County has adopted the “look-back” measurement method to determine if an employee is a full-time employee for purposes of the ACA. This method allows the County and departments to monitor the use of temporary employees over a longer period and plan accordingly. The “look-back” measurement period is 12 months and begins on the first day of the first calendar month following an employee’s start date, or November 1st through October 31st of the following year for current employees. If a non-seasonal employee worked an average of 30 hours per week during the look-back period, the County must consider the employee a full-time employee during the next year regardless of the number of hours the employee works. (ACA calls this a “stability period”.)
Board Agenda Items:
Other Extra-Help Guidelines: