Hence, some observers assume that
many employers will try to avoid the
ACA play-or-pay costs by keeping their
numbers of full-time employees below
50, or by reducing their employees’ work
hours to less than 30. Some observers
further assume that staffing firms will
help their clients implement these avoidance strategies.
Not so fast. Yes, some employers are
already considering how they can keep
their full-time headcounts below 50.5
And, yes, some employers are already
limiting work hours to less than 30 per
6 And, yes, some staffing firms
have already heard from clients interested in the 50-employee and 30-hour
7 But whether and to what
extent businesses will avoid ACA costs
by engaging staffing companies remains
First, nearly all staffing firms already
have more than 50 full-time employees
and therefore will be—regardless of variable demand from clients—required to
offer insurance or pay penalties.
Second, most staffing employees work
full-time. The notion that temporary
help jobs are categorically part-time is
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 82% of temporary and contract
employees work 35 or more hours per
week (the agency’s long-held traditional
definition of “full-time”). That’s about
the same as regular employees; BLS data
show that 83% of workers in traditional
employment arrangements work 35 or
more hours per week.
Employees of temporary help services
firms actually work more, on average,
than private sector employees overall:
34. 9 versus 34. 4 hours per week.
Staffing clients would be mistaken to
think that requesting part-time assignments would reduce their ACA costs.
For those employees who want to work
full-time, staffing firms try to provide
Most staffing employees work full-time.
The notion that temporary help jobs are categorically
part-time is flatly wrong.
Temporary and Contract Employees Are as Likely to Work Full-Time as
Employees in Traditional Work Arrangements
Temporary Help Services Employees Work About Half an Hour More Per
Week Than All Private Sector Employees
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (see note 8)
Employees in Traditional Work Arrangements Temporary and Contract Employees
2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Average Weekly Hours in Temporary Help Services Vs. Private Sector Overall (Seasonally Adjusted)
Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics