Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Arizona State is Latest Employer to Cut Faculty Hours to Avoid ObamaCare's Mandates

The employer mandate penalties have been postponed for a year so employers are taking this opportunity to reduce employee hours one year in advance to ensure that employees don't average 30-hours of work in a week for the upcoming year.  Because employee status will be measured on a look-back basis of up to one year, this strategy permits an employer to refrain from offering benefits in 2015 when the $2,000 to $3,000 penalties begin.  

This is from The Arizona Republic:
Temporary faculty members at Arizona State University are feeling a sting from the Affordable Care Act, even though a key component of the law does not go into effect until January 2015.

ASU administrators recently notified non-tenured associate faculty members that they will be limited to teaching six credit hours per semester beginning this fall, which amounts to two general-education courses.

“It’s like getting a punch in the stomach. For some people it’s a major financial setback,” said Mariam Cohen, a Scottsdale psychiatrist who teaches religious studies at ASU.

Cohen said she and other faculty associates were surprised by the announcement less than a month before the fall semester, which begins Aug. 22.

The new guidelines represent an effort by ASU to more clearly define the difference between a full-time professor and a part-time, temporary faculty member, also called “faculty associates” or “academic associates,” said ASU media spokeswoman Sharon Keeler.

Beginning in January 2015, ASU will be obligated to provide health-care coverage to employees who average 30 hours or more per week. Though enforcement of the law is a year and a half away, ASU is entering a legally required “baseline monitoring period” for implementation of the law this fall, Keeler said.

“One way ASU is responding to the Affordable Care Act is by becoming more consistent in its use of job titles for fixed-term faculty members and academic associates,” Keeler said. ...

“We’re finalizing some things right now,” said Allison Vaillancourt, the University of Arizona’s vice president of human resources. “We want to be able to get our arms around people who should be eligible for benefits and those who are not eligible.”...