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Affordable Care Act & Short-Term Employees

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010. The provisions of the law are being implemented over several years and include the expansion of Medicaid eligibility, the establishment of health insurance exchanges offering affordable coverage to individuals, and the prohibition of insurers to deny coverage based upon pre-existing conditions.

For employers, under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must provide "affordable" health insurance with "minimum essential coverage" to their workers or face a penalty. The law says "full-time equivalent" because part-time worker hours are also factored in when determining a company's total employee count.

As a result, the District and all of its colleges are taking a careful look at the use of part-time or short-term employees and how they will be impacted by the ACA and how we, as an employer, can best utilize our part-time employees while ensuring that we remain in full compliance with the regulations set forth in the ACA. After careful (and ongoing) analysis, the District will be implementing new guidelines with regard to temporary employees.

New Guidelines

  • Beginning January 1, 2014 short-term hourly employees are limited to 28 hours of work per week on average regardless of the funding source.
  • Current short-term hourly employees will be authorized to work through June 30, 2014 (pending approval from manager and Board of Trustees).
  • Part-time faculty members (with or without an additional hourly classified assignment) are limited to 28 hours of work per week.
  • Short-term hourly employee contracts can be extended to June 30, 2014 only.
  • Short-term hourly employees continue to be limited to 160 days of work in an Academic year.
  • Short-term hourly employees can work at more than one college/department but must remain under the 28 hours a week total for all assignments.

Additional Notes

  • Student Assistants continue to be limited to 19 hours of work per week.
  • These guidelines do not apply to Professional Expert assignments and they should continue to be part-time and project based.
  • Independent Contractors are not considered employees of the college.

Why is the District doing this now?

In order for us to continue to utilize the valuable services of our dedicated temporary employees in a fiscally responsible way and comply with the Affordable Care Act, CCCD will implement new guidelines effective January 1, 2014 that limits the number of hours temporary employees may work to a maximum of 28 hours per week (including any overtime). We are establishing this policy now because provisions of the Affordable Care Act become effective January 1, 2014, and will look back one year to establish workers' eligibility for employer-provided health insurance.

What's Next?

The Chancellor's Cabinet has been working with campus leaders to determine how these changes will impact individual departments and workflow. To date, we have been focused on our Classified short-term employees but will begin the analysis of part-time faculty shortly. It has been determined that the District will extend all current short-term employees through June 30, 2014 (expected to be on the November 6, 2013 Board agenda). These employees will still be subject to the 28 hours per week maximum. Between now and March of 2014, a completed analysis of needs and short-term hourly operational guidelines will be completed. Recognized gaps in service needs will be identified and further information will be made available.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Does the 28 hour per week limitation apply to short-term employees paid by categorical or grant funds?
Employees paid with categorical funding (e.g., EOPS) are subject to the 28-hour per week limitation. Employees paid with grant funds will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions specific to a categorical program or grant, please contact your campus personnel office.
Does this limitation apply to Federal Work Study Student Assistants?
No, Federal Work Study students are classified as Student Assistants and will continue to be limited to 19 hours of work per week.
Will the District outsource work formerly performed by short term personnel as a result of this process?
The District will be assessing and prioritizing service needs throughout this process in order to determine if additional classified positions need to be identified; or if a service will be offered in a different way.
If services are impacted, will there be overtime funds available?
Potential service impacts should be identified by each manager through the spreadsheet provided. Gap analysis will be conducted to determine if overtime dollars are needed, if additional classified staff positions are needed, or if a service reduction is warranted.
Does this limitation apply to short-term personnel who are substituting for a classified staff member (e.g., due to medical leave)?
Yes, the 28 hour limitation applies to all short-term assignments.
Will campus personnel provide assistance in identifying individuals who are working in other departments/divisions/campuses?
Yes, campus personnel will provide a list of all short-term personnel with multiple assignments to management for review.
What about short-term hourly staff who are also serving in part-time faculty roles?
The 28-hour limitation applies to all hours of service performed within the District. Should an employee serve in both capacities, s/he would be limited to no more than 28 weekly hours between assignments.
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
This ACA initiative requires large employers (with 50 or more full time employees plus full-time equivalents) to either offer minimum essential and affordable coverage or pay a penalty.
Can Student Assistants continue to start work prior to receiving board approval in order to fill gaps in employment?
Yes, Board action prior to employment for short term personnel is a requirement specified in AB500 back in 2001. Student Assistant assignments are not bound by this limitation.
If there are corrections necessary to the lists of hourly assignments, professional experts, and short-term hourly assignments, where should we submit these corrections?
Corrections should be submitted to your campus personnel office.
Where can I learn more about ACA coverage?
You can learn more about the law and its provisions by visiting http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/.