In 2010, the United States witnessed a significant shift in its healthcare landscape with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the ACA primarily aimed to enhance healthcare accessibility for individuals, its ripple effects have been felt across various sectors, including the staffing industry. Staffing firms, which play a crucial role in connecting job seekers with employers, have had to adapt to the changing regulatory environment introduced by the ACA. Some have chosen to handle those impacts themselves, while others have opted to outsource that to an Employer of Record (EOR) service provider. In this blog post, we will explore the key ways in which the ACA impacts staffing firms and the strategies they employ to navigate these changes.
Employer Mandate and Shared Responsibility under ACA
One of the central provisions of the ACA is the employer mandate, requiring businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance coverage to their workers. Staffing firms, often dealing with fluctuating workforce needs, must carefully monitor the number of full-time employees to ensure compliance with this mandate. The shared responsibility provision means that both the staffing firm and its client may be responsible for offering health insurance, leading to collaborative efforts to meet ACA requirements.
Impact on Staffing Temporary and Part-Time Workers
Staffing firms frequently employ temporary and part-time workers, and the ACA has implications for these workers’ access to health insurance. The law defines full-time employment as 30 or more hours per week, prompting staffing firms to manage the hours of their workforce strategically. To maintain flexibility while complying with the ACA, some staffing firms have adopted innovative workforce management practices, such as offering more part-time positions or utilizing variable hour schedules. However, those strategies do not always work in all industries.
Reporting and Compliance under ACA
Compliance with the ACA involves meticulous reporting of healthcare coverage details to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Staffing firms must provide accurate and timely information about the health insurance offerings to both employees and the government. This reporting requirement necessitates the implementation of robust tracking and reporting systems, often leading staffing firms to invest in advanced technologies and human resources management systems (HRMS) to streamline the process.
Rise of Contingent Workforce Solutions in Staffing
In response to the ACA’s impact, staffing firms have explored contingent workforce solutions to maintain workforce flexibility while managing healthcare costs. This might involve the adoption of alternative work arrangements, such as freelancers, independent contractors, or other contingent workers not covered by the ACA’s employer mandate. By diversifying their workforce composition, staffing firms can navigate the regulatory landscape more effectively. Staffing firms have also driven a massive increase in partnership with EORs and PEOs to combine their efforts with experts in employment. Outsourcing employment responsibilities to EORs like FoxHire allow the staffing firms to focus on finding great talent for their clients while the EOR/PEOs perform the meticulous employment duties on their behalf.
Focus on Employee Wellness Programs
To mitigate the challenges posed by the ACA, staffing firms have increasingly turned their attention to employee wellness programs. Investing in the health and well-being of their workforce can lead to improved overall health outcomes and, consequently, reduced healthcare costs. Some staffing firms offer wellness incentives, such as gym memberships or preventive care initiatives, as part of their broader strategy to promote a healthy and productive workforce.
Complying with the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act has undoubtedly reshaped the landscape of healthcare in the United States, and staffing firms have had to adapt to the evolving regulatory environment. By embracing innovative workforce management practices, focusing on employee wellness, and exploring contingent workforce solutions, staffing firms can navigate the impact of the ACA while continuing to play a pivotal role in connecting job seekers with employment opportunities. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, staffing firms will need to remain agile and proactive in their approach to compliance and employee well-being.