Are Your Employees Full-Time Status?
There is no single required definition of full-time for all employment related issues. Depending on what the classification will affect, your company policies, your insurance policies, and the requirements under the Affordable Care Act may all play a part in determining what is considered full-time.
As the employer you are free to define full-time and part-time requirements however you would like for many employment benefits such as eligibility for paid time off, holiday pay, and other workplace perks such as tuition assistance.
For benefits that are through insurance companies, you will need to determine whether the insurance plans have their own definition of full-time for the purpose of those policies. For example, many states require small group health insurance plans to offer coverage to any employee working a certain number of hours (often 30 hours per week) as a full-time employee.
Additionally, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), full-time employment is defined as working 30 or more hours per week. In 2015, employers with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) need to provide compliant health insurance to all full-time employees or face penalties under the Employer Mandate. For 2016, that requirement will apply to employers with 50 or more FTEs.
Employers may have different definitions of full-time for these different purposes. For example, a large employer with well over 100 employees working at least 30 hours a week may decide that only “full-time” employees working 40 hours a week may participate in its tuition reimbursement program, but still offer health insurance as required to all ACA “full-time” employees who work at least 30 hours per week. For administrative ease, many employers are choosing to adopt the full-time status definition from their insurance policies or the ACA and using that as the definition across the board.
In summary, an employer may define full-time and part-time requirements for the purposes of its internal policies, while insurance plan and ACA requirements will dictate full-time status for coverage purposes.