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Many clients still have questions regarding the Affordable Care Act and in particular, how to count and classify their workforce when dealing with seasonal workers, we thought it would be helpful to share the IRS' determination and shed some clarity.

 When determining if your organization is an applicable large employer – which is also known as an ALE –  you must measure your workforce by counting all your employees.  However, there is an exception for seasonal workers.Affordable_Care_Act.jpg

If an employer’s workforce exceeds 50 full-time employees for 120 days or fewer during a calendar year, and the employees in excess of 50 who were employed during that period of no more than 120 days were seasonal workers, the employer is not considered an applicable large employer.

A seasonal worker for this purpose, is an employee who performs labor or services on a seasonal basis. For example, retail workers employed exclusively during holiday seasons are seasonal workers.

The terms seasonal worker and seasonal employee are both used in the employer shared responsibility provisions, but in two different contexts. Only the term seasonal worker is relevant for determining whether an employer is an applicable large employer subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions.  For this purpose, employers may apply a reasonable, good faith interpretation of the term “seasonal worker.”

To learn more about this topic and about when the definition of a seasonal employee is applicable, visit  the Questions and Answers page.

See the Determining if an Employer is an Applicable Large Employer page on for details about counting full-time and full-time equivalent employees.

The ACA and its provisions can be confusing, especially for business owners who strive to properly classify and count their workforce. Stay up-to-date with all our ACA articles and if you have any questions on this or any other matter, please feel free to reach out to me at or any of the professionals on staff at 216-831-0733. 

DeAnna Alger, CPA
DeAnna Alger, CPA

DeAnna Alger, CPA, is an Accounting Tax Services Senior specializing in federal, state and local tax matters affecting individuals and businesses. She is a member of the Ohio Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. When she’s not crunching numbers and reading about the latest tax provisions, DeAnna enjoys spending family time with her husband and her young son.