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HR issues surrounding coaches

by on September 12, 2014

MISBO is fortunate to have two Human Resource professionals on our Board of Directors.  We have recently received a tremendous influx of questions and “buzz” around the issues and processes surrounding coaches pay, including how the ACA has impacted seasonal coaches.  We asked our HR pros to provide a synopsis of how those issues are dealt with at their respective schools and their responses are below.  Please feel free to reach out to Genie or Amy with any questions!

From Genie Tanner, Human Resources Director, University School of Nashville, Nashville, TN

University School of Nashville’s benefit eligibility requirement is the same as for retirement eligibility, an employee must be anticipated to work 1,000 hours or more during the coming year in order to qualify. If someone is very close, we go ahead and offer them benefits. If an employee works 20 hours per week for 52 weeks, they are benefit eligible. If an employee works roughly 25 hours per week for the academic year, they are deemed benefit eligible. This is a much lower bar for benefit eligibility than the ACA regulations require.
We deem our athletic coaches and assistant coaches exempt under the professional exemption, because at least 51% of their time is spent teaching skills to student athletes. We have not added a process for tracking the hours of seasonal coaches. However,  the length of their season (including pre-season conditioning) and the number of hours they are anticipated to work is taken into consideration when their stipend is set. This gives us the ability to calculate whether we anticipate them to work sufficient hours to be deemed benefit eligible. 
As ACA regulations continue to evolve, it is possible that we will need to change this process. 
We try hard to keep our administrative processes simple and straightforward to administer. We think it is less expensive to offer benefits than it is to hire someone to monitor a class of employees for benefit eligibility. It is also the right thing to do.

From Amy Madsen, Human Resources Manager, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte, NC

CCDS considers seasonal coaches employees as they do not meet the criteria of an independent contractor – we control how the work is performed, where it is performed and when performed; they do not have any control of the financial and/or business aspects of the program; and they are perceived as employees of the school by students/parents and other employees of the school.  We run background checks all of our employees, including seasonal coaches.

I agree with all of Genie’s points.  We are also monitoring our PT and temporary employees’ hours against the ERISA 1000 hour rule regarding retirement plans which helps keep the hours worked below the benefit-eligible threshold.  Our only issue is if a coach is also tutoring or working in another capacity – tracking the hours for them becomes essential.

In addition, we asked MISBO vendor, ISBC (Oswald Companies), to provide some resources for our schools specific to the ACA.  Kurt Meinberg, Team Leader at ISBC provided the following two documents regarding the “look back period” and the ACA guidelines around tracking hours.

If this post helped you with this issue at all, please let us know via the comments below.

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