29-hour work rule
In 2013, NAU established a work rule that restricted variable hour employees (student workers, graduate assistants, part-time temporary employees, and part-time faculty) to working no more than an average of 29 hours per week over a period of one year. Part-time faculty hours/week are calculated based on 2.67 hours equivalency worked for each credit taught over a full semester.
As a reminder, any employee who averages 30 hours or more over their one year measurement period will be offered medical benefits in the following stability period. Terminating an employee simply because they will qualify for medical benefits directly conflicts with the ACA rule. It is important that you manage your employees’ hours throughout the measurement period in order to maintain their variable hour employment status. For more information, visit the Measurement Periods webpage. To get individualized support or assistance, please contact HR.
Eligibility for the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) is measured differently, but it can be managed in conjunction with managing hours for other benefit eligibility. A separate report is available to help you manage your employees’ hours in relation to ASRS eligibility. For more information, visit the ASRS eligibility webpage and a copy of the report that is prepared each pay period.
29-hour work rule report:
The 29-hour work rule report is generated and disseminated no later than the Friday following the end of the pay period, which is the Friday when we do NOT receive a paycheck. The report includes all of the variable hour employees being measured in either the standard or initial measurement periods who are averaging 27 hours or more per week. Human Resources uses a sophisticated data management tool that incorporates a variety of calculations to account for special rules regarding breaks in service and multiple jobs so that the average hours calculation is accurate according to the legal definitions.
The report consists of the following information:
- Trending average hours per week – the collective average hours per week during the period the employee is being measured.
- Standard measurement start/end dates* – from mid-October of one year to mid-October of the following year.
- Initial measurement period start/end dates* – these dates are determined based on the next full pay period begin date in which the employee has earned their first hour of service.
- Remaining weekly average hours – If the employee works or exceeds this number of hours per week for the remaining duration of their measurement period, the employee will violate the 29-hour work rule.
- Trending week count – How many weeks of data are included in the projected calculation (trending average hours per week). Not all employees will have this information due to recent hire date and insufficient data to calculate.
- Reports To – this is the employee’s direct supervisor, as recorded in PeopleSoft. If you are not the direct supervisor, update the Reports To record in PeopleSoft, through the online processing at the Reports To webpage.
- The most recent pay period hours.
Note: An employee may appear on the 29-hour work rule report twice with two different measurement period start/end dates. This happens because the employee has earned their first hours of service prior to the standard measurement period start date with a preceding break in service of at least four weeks or after the standard measurement period start date, which is referred to as “dual measurements“.
For example, a single employee might have two measurement start dates of 10/12/2015 and 04/28/2015. Please use the measurement period with the earliest start date (from the example above, you would use 04/28/2015) to monitor your employee’s weekly average hours and this measurement period will directly influence the employee’s standard measurement period calculations once transitioned.
Tips on navigation, interpret and analyze report:
Tips on how to navigate the report:
- The Workbook has two tabs, Tab 1_SMP and Tab 2_IMP.
- If you click and hover over the column headings with the red tags in the upper right corners, the definitions of the data in the columns will display.
- The green highlighted rows indicate that the employee has multiple positions.
- The red highlighted texts indicate the trending average hours per week are the combined with all of the employee’s positions.
- The Excel worksheet is not locked, so you can use any of the Excel functions to extract or manipulate your data.
- If you are not the Reports To, please let your department’s business manager aware, so they can update the Reports To in PeopleSoft and let me know as well so in the meantime I can rerouted the report to the appropriate person/department.
Tips on how to interpret and analyze the report:
- Tab 2_IMP, Column A shows the measurement period ending month and year.
- If your employee is trending 30.000 hours or more per week, please review the employee’s schedule immediately.
- Determine the length of time remaining in your employee’s measurement period by locating the employee’s Trending Week Count and subtract it from the 52 weeks (a period of one year).
- For example, the employee has a trending week count of 38, then there are 14 weeks left in the measurement period.
- Actual hours worked in the most recent pay period (the far right end column) provides information on the employee’s hours of service. #N/A indicates that the employee has not worked within this specific pay periods.
- Ensure that your employee is working equal to or less than the remaining average weekly hours by compare the remaining average hours per week against the current pay period’s actual hours divided in half.
- For example, the remaining average hours per week is 33.929 and the actual hours worked is 64.00 hours/week (64.000/2), then employee is trending less than the remaining weekly average hours and not exceeding the average of 29-hour work rule.
Methods on how to manage:
Here are some methods on how to manage your variable hour employees’ weekly average hours to avoid exceeding the 29-hour work rule:
- Ensure that your part-time faculty is teaching no more than eleven credit hours over the one whole semester in an academic year.
- Ensure the ASRS 20/20 compliance where variable hour employees are working 20 hours or more for 19 weeks and thereafter, drop to 19 hours or less for the remaining of the fiscal year.
- Consider establishing a fully benefit-eligible position and recruiting a regular status employee to do the work.
- Increase your work force to perform the tasks requirements.
- If the employee has multiple positions with the University, please coordinate efforts with affected departments to manage the employee’s weekly hours.
- If the employee has not worked for the last three pay periods, please terminate the employee and they can easily be rehired with an ePAR if rehired within six months.