Joel Chamberlain, Accountant -  Many larger businesses are working now to find ways of reducing full-time staff to avoid the penalty. Some are also realizing that included in Obamacare is a new definition of full-time.

The penalty for not offering affordable health insurance is $2,000 per employee. This amount increases to $3,000 for employees who receive tax credits to purchase health insurance from state healthcare exchanges. However, this tax is reserved for companies with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees. That means the difference between having 50 employees or 49 could be as much as $150,000 in taxes.

In order to prevent employers from simply shaving an hour off of everyone’s work schedule, ACA has introduced two new definitions of “full-time”:

For the purposes of this tax, full-time means anyone who works an average of 30 or more hours a week. Whereas in the past someone could work 39 hours and still be considered part-time, ACA changes this rule when determining who is a large employer.

Full-time equivalent, or FTE employees represent a composite of multiple part time employees whose hours add up to more than 30. In other words, if you have 50 people all working 40 hours and you replace one of those workers with two people working 19 hours each, the result you still have 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees. The two part-timers have total average hours in excess of 30, making them effectively one full-time equivalent employee.

Huffington Post -  Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, plans to begin denying health insurance to newly hired employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, according to a copy of the company’s policy obtained by The Huffington Post.

Under the policy, slated to take effect in January, Walmart also reserves the right to eliminate health care coverage for certain workers if their average workweek dips below 30 hours -- something that happens with regularity and at the direction of company managers.