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Affordable Care Act: Preparing for the Inevitable

Earlier this month, the Affordable Care Act’s spotlight shone brightly on volunteer firefighters. It was a turn for rural cities and towns, who rely heavily on these resources, to stop and say “hey, have we thought this through”. If these volunteers work more than 30 hours per week (in addition to full-time jobs) and were going to suddenly be offered healthcare, how would the costs affect the services provided to the community? Many feared they would have to limit the amount of hours volunteered, but at a cost of keeping the public safe. Luckily, the US Treasury and IRS listened to members of Congress and representatives from the volunteer firefighter’s community to exclude this group.1

This gets me thinking… what else are organizations not anticipating? Things aren’t always black and white. Healthcare Reform legislation isn’t changing, but are there other grey areas for public sector employers that need some special consideration? Now is the time to evaluate and prepare. Even starting with the practice of simple timecard analysis, organizations will know pretty quickly if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Regardless if an employer tracks time manually or through an automated system, they will all be on the hook to report back on their part-time/full-time status. The clock is ticking (344 days to be exact), don’t wait until it’s almost upon us.

1 Treasury Ensures Fair Treatment for Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders under the Affordable Care Act – 1/10/14


2014 Top Trends in Managing the Public Sector Workforce

At its recent annual board of advisors meeting, board members of The Workforce Institute™ discussed their predictions about the top trends of workforce management in 2014.
To take this a step further, let’s look at this through the lens of government and how (or if) it will impact the public sector specifically.

Making Data Small – The real value lies not in big data, but in the ability to make data small and actionable. Tools and technologies that enable organizations to do this are essential to carry this forward.

State and localities have powerful data at their fingertips to aid in efficiency, reduced costs, and better services to citizens. The ability to analyze trends such as overtime and absences are just two examples of how information can turn to knowledge.

To Cloud or Not to Cloud? – As more organizations look to move their HR systems to the cloud, practical advice on how to do so successfully will be needed. In addition, more will be written about why some organizations are choosing not to move to the cloud and the value of vendors that offer both options.

Both NASCIO (National Association of State CIO’s) and PTI (Public Technology Institute) continue to rank Cloud Services high on their priority lists.1,2 While IT staff and resource numbers fluctuate, and are sometimes outsourced, having an option to host or not lends the organization some flexibility to purchase and deploy HR systems unlike just 5 or 10 years ago.

The Workplace Goes Social – Social media has revolutionized the way people communicate in their personal lives but its impact has yet to be truly leveraged in the workplace. Social tools can drive manager and employee collaboration and knowledge acceleration.

Social media is making waves in government particularly in an effort to engage citizens. But is it working internally to connect departments and project teams?

Mobile Workforce Management – As employees continue to bring their own devices to work, employers will need to determine how to best use the technology to gain access to the information they need, to make frequent tasks simpler and less time consuming, and to keep employees happier and more engaged.

As the mass exodus of retirees comes upon government organizations, it’s going to be important to meet the demands of and attract a younger generation. A generation that does not remember life before mobile devices.

The Affordable Care Act – A year ago, most affected organizations probably thought that they would have a strategy in place by now, but with changes and delays to the process, most are still in a holding pattern.

There’s no stopping it, no matter how hard you wish! Public sector employers share the same responsibility as the private sector when it comes to complying with upcoming ACA regulations. A strategy has to include a way to have constant vigile over part-time hours to watch employees who teeter on the 30-hour threshold.

To read the full press release, go to: The Workforce Institute at Kronos Predicts Top Five Trends in Workforce Management for 2014

1 State CIO Priorities for 2014

2 City and County Technology Ins and Outs for 2014