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The Wagner Law Group Description 

The Wagner Law Group, A Professional Corporation, is a nationally recognized ERISA & employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor & human resources practice. 


Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group has 19 attorneys engaged exclusively in employee benefits, estate planning and employment law. Five of our attorneys are AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as having very high to preeminent legal abilities and ethical standards. The firm is among the largest ERISA boutiques in the country. Our practice is national in scope, with clients in more than 40 states and several foreign countries.






Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group


Massachusetts Office 

Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110

Florida Office 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7121 Fairway Drive
Suite 203
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418


New York Office

Tel: (716) 650-5987

Fax: (716) 633-0301

333 International Drive

Suite B-4

Williamsville, NY 14221


San Francisco Office

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 829-4385

315 Montgomery Street

Suite 902

San Francisco, CA 94104







September 13, 2012 

 State and Federal Law Alert




IRS Issues Guidance on Determining Full-Time Employees for PPACA's Employer Mandate




The IRS has issued Notice 2012-58, on how employers should determine which employees are full-time for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions (i.e., the employer mandate) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA"). In particular, the Notice provides several safe harbors that employers may use to determine who is a full-time employee. 



PPACA's employer mandate applies to employers with at least 50 employees. Under the employer mandate, an employer may be assessed a penalty if it either: 



a)      does not offer full-time employees and their dependents the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential health plan coverage and at least one full-time employee is certified to receive a federal premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction; or


b)      offers full-time employees and their dependents the opportunity to enroll in health plan coverage but the coverage is "unaffordable" or fails meet minimum standards.


 Safe Harbor for Ongoing Employees


 The Notice provides a safe harbor for ongoing employees (as opposed to new hires) whereby an employer determines each employee's full-time status by selecting a standard measurement period ("SMP") of three to twelve consecutive months. Employers must treat employees who average at least 30 hours each week during the SMP as full-time employees during a subsequent "stability period," regardless of the employee's actual hours of service during the stability period, provided the employee remains employed.


The stability period must: (i) be at least six consecutive calendar months; (ii) be no shorter in duration than the SMP; and (iii) begin after the SMP. Employers are not required to treat employees who do not work full-time during the SMP as full-time employees during the following stability period. Employers can end the SMP up to 90 days before the stability period begins to provide an administrative period for determining which employees are eligible for coverage and to notify and enroll such employees.


New Employees Expected to Work Full Time, Variable Hours, or Seasonally


Employers will not be penalized for new employees who are reasonably expected to work full-time, if they are offered group health plan coverage within three months of employment.


The Notice provides a separate safe harbor for new variable hour and seasonal employees. For these employees, employers may use a measurement period similar to the SMP, called the initial measurement period ("IMP"). However, the IMP, together with any administrative period, cannot extend beyond the last day of the first calendar month beginning on or after the first anniversary of the employee's start date.


Effective Dates


Employers may rely on the Notice's guidance at least through the end of 2014. Therefore, this guidance would apply to any measurement period that begins in 2013 or 2014 and the associated stability period (which may extend into 2014, 2015 or 2016).


While the Notice's guidance may help employers determine who is a full-time employees for purposes of the employer mandate, the safe harbors involve a significant amount of administrative complexity in structuring the corresponding measurement and stability periods. Moreover, employers must be sure to notify employees of their eligibility status after the measurement period. To avoid costly errors, employers should consider retaining qualified benefits counsel to ensure that their compliance obligations under the employer mandate are satisfied.













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Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we hereby inform you that any advice set forth herein with respect to US federal tax issues is not intended or written by The Wagner Law Group to be used and cannot be used, by you or any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code.


This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.