In a post-ACA world, nothing should surprise us. The twists and turns in the road we’re currently travelling should be expected and we should be focused on the asphalt in front of us as well as the miles that stretch onto the horizon. It is in this vein that I suggest we fix our eyes on a challenge that employers have quickly approaching their windshield. That is…the need to assess, calculate, and report on the average number of hours that an employee has been or is working. We have previously preached the value of a strong Time & Attendance (TAS) platform within this blog and at various conferences. The automation, consistent application of policy, and real-time labor management reporting that comes from a strong TAS platform can have a tremendous ROI within an organization, not to mention the compliance risk averted. However, many employers haven’t moved on automating their time capture or have minimally moved the needle on leveraging these systems to their full extent. However, as that famous statesman Bob Dylan sang, ”them times, they are a-changin”. As has been the case for the last 3 years, the changes coming our way are rooted in our new, and not so dear, friend…the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As you likely know, the IRS and DOL have recently provided some further guidance around ACA and how employers are to determine full-time/part-time status and, hence, eligibility for their group plan. At the root of these clarifications is the need to track, calculate, and report employee’s hours for specific periods of time. That said, not only are hours needed for ACA purposes, but there are a number of other data elements not always stored within a TAS that are needed to fully capture, calculate, and be utilized for ACA compliance and pay/play calculations. Data elements such as date of hire, birth date, age, and earnings are often stored within payroll or HRIS. So, the question becomes, how do you merge this data together and is there an automated way to do so without having to manually enter or integrate data from disparate spreadsheets? The answers to the above questions are most certainly “yes”. An integrated HCM platform that brings together payroll, HR, benefits, and time data would be able to produce such a report with little to no effort. There are many different platforms and providers available in the market today that can help HR professionals focus their attention on the road ahead and not get mired in manual spreadsheets and calculations. We are in a period of unprecedented change. Who would have thought that there would be such a time when Benefits and Time data would be so intertwined? Aside from basic eligibility management, those two aspects of HR data would have historically been viewed as the proverbial Odd Couple. Well, thanks to ACA, we can toss out all old paradigms and ways of looking at HR data. The need to automate and integrate HR data and systems is upon us and we encourage you to evaluate your current systems and processes to determine if you’re ready for what lies ahead. We encourage you to take action today! Let’s “Advance HR through Technology” together!
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