As small businesses navigate changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they are seeing how far-reaching its impacts are—from leveraging tax credits to determining employee eligibility. Staying on top of ACA compliance will continue to be a challenge even for the savviest small business owner.
Failure to comply with ACA requirements puts businesses at risk of financial penalties. For small business owners, a cash flow disruption like an unexpected fine can be a setback that can have far-reaching repercussions, including jeopardizing an owner’s ability to make payroll. Penalties can also be a distraction, forcing an owner to address even more administrative matters, rather than serving clients or customers.
With this in mind, here are a few things small business owners and HR managers should keep in mind to help navigate the ACA:
- The Employer Shared Responsibility Provision (ESRP) – Under the ESRP, employers will need to calculate how many full time equivalent (FTE) employees they have on their staff to see if they are considered to be an ‘applicable large employer.’ If they are, they’ll be required to provide affordable health care coverage to full time employees and their dependents or face potential fines. The ESRP will roll out in 2015.
- Small Business Health Care Tax Credit – Employers must gather and report information about employees, including wages, hours and premiums to determine their eligibility for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.
- Time and Attendance – Employers will need effective workforce planning processes in place to track and schedule employee time and monitor employee hours to help comply with the Shared Responsibility provision.
- Ongoing legislative changes – ACA-related changes and updates will continue to unfold, which means that small business employers must remain vigilant about how new regulations and requirements could impact them, their employees and their business.
We see the many hats our clients wear every day as they struggle to manage competing priorities. Keeping up with regulatory changes—let alone the day-to-day administrative tasks necessary to succeed in business—is a challenge. However, small business owners can take advantage of resources to help relieve these kinds of pressures. For example, the U.S. Small Business Administration has many resources about ACA on its website. ADP also provides information and tools for small business owners about healthcare reform to help them better understand and comply with the ACA’s requirements.
These kinds of resources can help small business owners achieve their business goals by helping to reduce risk through improved compliance and cash flow management. Instead of adding ACA compliance to their to-do lists, small businesses can rely on best practice information from experts that can help them manage ACA compliance so owners can focus on growing their bottom line. At the end of the day, we know small businesses need to focus on that more than anything else.
We ask you: what is your small business doing to manage ACA compliance?