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Hours of Certain Volunteer Workers Not Counted for Purposes of ‘Pay or Play’ Requirements

Treasury Clarifies Treatment of Certain Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Personnel 

Beginning in 2015, large employers (generally those with at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents) who do not offer affordable health insurance that provides a minimum level of coverage to their full-time employees will be subject to a “pay or play” penalty (also known as an employer shared responsibility payment).

Since the issuance of proposed regulations on the employer shared responsibility provisions, questions have arisen about how the hours of volunteer firefighters and other volunteer emergency responders should be taken into account in determining whether they are full-time employees and for counting toward the 50-employee threshold.

As a result, the U.S. Treasury Department has announced that the forthcoming final regulations relating to employer shared responsibility generally will not require volunteer hours of bona fide volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel at governmental or tax-exempt organizations to be counted when determining full-time employees (or full-time equivalents).

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