The Marshall County Commission members and the council members met in a joint session Monday morning to discuss a personnel policy amendment concerning hours for part-time employees.
As explained by the county’s insurance representative, Tony Nyers, the Affordable Care Act requires that all businesses, including county government, offer insurance benefits for all employees that work a 30-hour work week on a six-month average. Those employees are now considered to be eligible for insurance benefits if they meet the requirements for insurance benefits.
The council and the commissioners looked at the employee count of those who exceed 30 hours a week and it only comes to six or seven employees – which is only handful of the part-time employees who work for the county. However, Auditor Penny Lukenbill urged the council and commissioners to come to a decision on an amendment by July 1 so it’s in the policy handbook and ready for when the ACA becomes effective in 2014.
Most county government entities have been discussing this very topic and most have agreed on a 25-hour work week limit to avoid the higher cost of insurance. In this instance, the Marshall County Council approved a motion for part-time employees to work no more than 56 hours in a 14-day period.
It was Clerk Julie Fox who suggested a 56 hour time limit as it would be easier for her department to keep track of the hours and Dave Butt, Captain of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, agreed. Their departments rely on part-time work. The council and commissioners appreciated the department heads’ feedback so they could make a better decision for what would work for their employees.
Nyers told the council that no matter what they decide, insurance rates will be going up 3.5 percent plus a 2.55 percent tax that will go back to the federal government in addition to a $5.25 fee per employee on the plan per month which will go directly to the federal government. Specific numbers will be discussed with the council when budget time comes around and Nyers hopes to have that information in August, although most companies won’t have solid figures until November.