How does the look-back measurement method for determining full-time employee status under the Affordable Care Act apply to an ongoing employee?

Author: Brian G. Muse, LeClairRyan

An ongoing (or current) employee is an employee who has been employed for at least one standard measurement period.

An employer may determine if an ongoing employee is full-time by looking back over a standard measurement period of between three and 12 months. If an employer determines that an ongoing employee is full-time (averaged at least 30 hours of service per week) during the standard measurement period, the employee must be treated as a full-time employee during the associated stability period, regardless of the employee's actual number of hours of service during the stability period, as long as that employee remains employed. Alternatively, if an ongoing employee is determined not to be full-time during the standard measurement period the employee does not have to be treated as a full-time employee during the associated stability period.

An employer may use an administrative period of no more than 90 days to notify and enroll employees in the coverage. To prevent gaps in coverage, the administrative period must overlap with the prior stability period.