How does the look-back measurement method for determining full-time employee status under the Affordable Care Act apply to new variable hour and seasonal employees?

Author: Brian G. Muse, LeClairRyan

A new employee is considered a new variable hour employee if, based on the facts and circumstances at his or her start date, it cannot be determined whether the employee is reasonably expected to perform an average of at least 30 hours of service per week. A seasonal employee is defined as one who is hired into a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or fewer.

If a new variable hour employee is determined to be full-time (averaged at least 30 hours of service per week) during the initial 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 a new variable hour employee is determined not to be full-time during the initial measurement period, the employee does not have to be treated as a full-time employee during the associated stability period.

A new employee who is determined to be a seasonal employee may be treated as a new variable hour employee even if the employee is expected to perform at least 30 hours of service per week during the season for which he or she was hired.