So much has been said and written about the impacts of the Affordable Care Act. If you’re in business, large or small, you’re trying hard to follow the act and have your company ready to comply. Just when we thought we were set on the employer side of things, the rules have now changed. Small and mid-sized businesses with less than 50-99 employees will get another year to offer benefits to full time employees, but they must track and report their numbers. Larger employers will get a phased-in approach and will be required to offer 70% of Full Time employees benefits in 2015, and 95% in 2016.
As for employees, we have been predicting for years that you will need to be responsible for your own career. There is no longer a parental role that employers can play. Employees work differently today. They will continue to have more than one employer. And varied careers as their needs change throughout their career, which is proving to have a longer lifespan for most workers.
Being a temp or contractor used to have a stigma attached to it. It was considered fringe employment, a place where the unemployable went to work. But the number of workers tell us this is all changing. In the U.S., more workers are temporaries than at any time in our modern workforce. And workers that are contingent workers – workers that freelance, are independent contractors, or work for outsourcing companies – well this number is upwards of 20% of the entire workforce!
So what does the ACA have to do with the contingent worker? The ultimate in portability. There are huge issues as to who is going to pay for all of this. If and when this is worked out, one new wave of opportunity is certain. With benefits portability will come the ultimate in flexibility and movement between employers and projects for the workforce. If you take away the driver of benefits in the traditional job with the typical employer, it is hard to imagine that more of the workforce with the skill and desire to work differently won’t take full advantage of this new opportunity.
Imagine with me for a second. Many workers today work to receive benefits. At the Outside-In® Companies, we hear this all of the time. Employees feel trapped. Perhaps their family has health issues that they feel will impact the cost and care of their benefits if they move health plans and employers. Or there is a feeling that a new employer cannot duplicate their current plan. All of this, at least in theory, has the opportunity to create one of the largest workforce migrations ever. Workers’ skills will be portable.
There is so much uncertainty. And this blogger is not advocating for new costs for employers or employees. So much is still really up in the air. BUT, what an interesting premise. Workers, freed of the benefits shackles able to move jobs when opportunity knocks without having to worry about traditional benefit hassles!