Seasonal Employees- Bam!

One of the more frequent compliance questions is whether employers need to offer coverage to seasonal employees under ACA. Whether and when a seasonal employee should be offered coverage is particularly important for employers subject to the employer responsibility provisions of the law.

First, it’s important to understand who qualifies as a seasonal employee. In general, a seasonal employee meets the following requirements:

  • The employee is in a position for which the customary annual employment is six (6) months or less, and
  • The period of employment should begin each calendar year in approximately the same time of the year.

The final rules reserve the option to more clearly define seasonal employee at a later time.

The rules allow that in unusual instances an employee may still be considered seasonal even if the seasonal employment extends beyond six (6) months. The rules speak to a ski instructor at a resort that has an unusually long or heavy snow season – probably in Boston!

The rules allow that employers may treat seasonal employees that meet these requirements as variable hour employees. As a result, an employer may use the look-back measurement method for seasonal employees in the same manner as variable hour employees.

So, what’s the Bam! in the title mean? The Bam! is that an employee who is hired with the expectation that they will work on average 30 or more hours per week does not have to be treated as a full-time employee for health coverage purposes (and the employer responsibility requirements) if Bam!, that employee is a seasonal employee!