2014 / 10

Countdown to ACA Compliance – Part III

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 28, 2014

0 Affordable Healthcare – ACA Smart, Legal Issues - Staffing, Managing People. Team Leadership ACA and Temporary Staffing, ACA compliance, Affordable Healthcare – ACA Smart, Employment Agency Bellevue, Employment Agency Everett, Employment Agency Kent, Employment Agency Seattle, Employment Agency Tacoma, Employment Agency Washington State, Hiring Bellevue, Hiring Everett, Hiring Seattle, Hiring Tacoma, Temporary Staffing Bellevue, Temporary Staffing Everett, Temporary Staffing Kent, Temporary Staffing Seattle, Temporary Staffing Tacoma, Temporary Staffing Washington

The PACE Staffing Network has been preparing for the employer mandates of the ACA for well over two years. As members of the American Staffing Association (ASA), we provided input into several areas of proposed regulation, and attended countless hours of ACA related training. With the ACA’s employer mandates ready to launch January 1 2015, we wanted to share information on the specifics of how the ACA impacts your use of temporary/contract employees. For ideas on how to better manage your needs for staff in light of new ACA mandates, contact a member of our Partnership Development team by contacting infodesk@pacestaffing.com or calling 425-637-3312.

In what ways has the ACA already impacted your temporary and contract workers?  

The Individual Mandate has been in effect since 2014, requiring all temporary and contract workers to purchase ACA qualified insurance for themselves and their dependent children. While we do not know what percentage of temporary/contract employees complied with these mandates in 2014, we suspect that number will increase in 2015 as penalties for non-compliance increase.

What changes go into play in 2015?

The Shared Responsibility component of the ACA, known as the Employer Mandate, goes into effect on January 1, 2015. This provision requires that all staffing companies employing 100 or more employees offer affordable and ACA qualified insurance to 70% of its eligible employees or pay significant fines and penalties. The taxes/fines/penalties for not offering insurance are $2K/year ($167/month) per eligible full time employee—excluding the first 80; if the insurance offered does not meet ACA requirements or isn’t affordable, the fine/tax penalty is $250/month (up to $3K annually) for any employee going to the exchange for insurance and receiving a subsidy. This mandate will impact most but not all staffing companies in 2015.

Are most staffing agencies already offering insurance?

The short answer is YES. PACE along with most staffing agencies has been offering some form of health insurance for well over a decade. Unfortunately these health insurance products do not meet ACA requirements, so new products for our industry had to be developed over the last year.

What requirements must be met in order for a temporary or contract employee to become eligible for ACA benefits on January 1st, 2015?

There are several ways an employee can be qualified for coverage as of January 2015. Using a look-back period, any temporary or contract worker of a “large” staffing agency who has been on assignment through their staffing agency for at least 1560 hours during 2014 must be offered insurance. These look-back periods will continue on through 2015 so that all employees meeting the full-time requirement must be offered insurance within 30-days of the end of their look-back. For all full-time employees hired after October 1, 2014 they will become eligible for insurance on the first day of the month following the completion of their administrative period—no later than the first day of the fourth month from date of hire. Full-time employees are considered any employee intended to work 30-hours per week or more at the point of hire.

What must a staffing company contribute to the employee’s insurance costs in order to ensure “affordability?”

Staffing firms must contribute to the employees’ premium so that no employee is required to pay more than 9.5% of their base pay for their own personal coverage. For example, if an employee earning $10/hr. is offered an ACA compliant insurance plan that costs $400/month, the employee cannot be required to pay more than $123.50/month for their own coverage, requiring their staffing firm employer to pay $284.80.

How will newly assigned temporary and contract employees become eligible for coverage in 2015?

Starting in October, 2014, PACE will categorize all new hires as one of the following:
  • Full-time – working 30 or more hours per week and projected to work at least 1560 hours in the coming 12 months,
  • Part-time – working less than 30 hours a week, or
  • Variable hour – employees whose status as either full- or part-time can’t be determined at point of hire.
  • Seasonal – employees working 6 months or less at specific times throughout a calendar year.
While you might assume that all the employees we hire are either Variable Hour or Seasonal, there are very specific rules staffing companies must follow to put an employee into those categories. What’s at stake is that for employees categorized as Variable Hour, they are allowed to work for their employer for a defined “measurement period” (typically 12 months) without the benefit offer requirement. The IRS is not going to give this classification away easily.

How will most staffing companies decide to become compliantwill they pay or play?

To be ACA compliant, a staffing agency can either offer benefits or pay the $2000 per employee “did not offer” penalty. They can also offer a qualified benefit but not participate in its costs, running the risk of incurring the $3000 per subsidized employee penalty for not making their plan “affordable.” Each approach to ACA compliance has offsetting costs and risks, requiring each staffing agency to choose a strategy that meets their customer’s needs for cost containment and their positioning in the marketplace.  The American Staffing Association commissioned a study by Towers Watson (2014) which provides insight into the choices likely to surface over the next 60 days. According to the TW study, 54% of staffing companies will be offering some level of insurance to its eligible temporary and contract workers. The remaining 46% are either planning to pay penalties or are too small to be covered during the transition year. A popular compliance strategy used by many staffing agencies, including PACE, will be to offer two insurance options:
  • A plan that meets both the “minimum value” (MVP) and the “minimum essential coverage” (MEC) definitionswith a 60% actuarial value covering core services. This plan will meet all the requirements of the employer mandate.
  • A plan that meets only the “minimum essential coverage” (MEC) definition – A less costly plan that meets only individual mandate requirements.
This strategy provides a low cost way for our employees to become compliant with the individual mandate (avoiding their own fines and penalties), while protecting PACE from penalties stemming from employees taking subsidies because our plans don’t meet ACA requirements or are unaffordable.

Do you need to know if and how a company providing temporary or contract staff to your organization is ACA compliant?

Theoretically no. Provided you have the right contracts and agreements in place you will have no responsibility for your staffing vendor’s decisions regarding how they will get and stay compliant with ACA mandates. Thinking more pragmatically, the expertise your staffing vendor brings to the table to not only ensure their own compliance with the ACA but to help you with yours, can be invaluable. First of all, a vendor who hasn’t prepared to become compliant can easily find themselves facing fines and penalties of a size that can end their business. Secondly, like most overly ambitious legal undertakings, the ACA contains opportunities for smart employers to use the provisions in the ACA to create new and more competitive ways of doing business. If staffing agency does not understand the ACA and its nuances, they likely won’t be able to offer fresh ideas on ways to lower your ACA related costs!

What will be the” added costs” for staffing agencies to become compliant with the ACA in 2015?

There are two categories of costs associated with ACA compliance:
  • The increased costs of ACA related administration which will be considerable—starting with changes in point of hire administration, monthly reporting, annual reporting to both employee and the IRS, etc.
  • The increase in direct costs associated with either offering the required insurance coverage or paying the penalties associated with not offering.
The direct cost increases will be agency specific, depending on several factors:
  • How many "full-time" employees they have in their workforce relative to their total workforce?
  • What percent of their eligible full-time employees will take the insurance once offered?
  • The eligible employees rate of pay to arrive at the costs the agencies will incur to make their plan "affordable."
  • The costs of the insurance products they are offering.
Based on the costs we are currently projecting, PACE is anticipating a 3-5% increase in our direct costs with another 15% increase in our current administrative costs.

For staffing companies who elect to “pay,” are they subject to taxes/penalties on all their temporary employees?

No. The application of taxes and penalties for “not offering insurance” only applies to full-time employees (minus 80 in 2015). Excluded from penalties for unaffordable insurance are employees who either reject an offer of coverage, elect coverage that isn’t affordable or delivering minimum value, or who are enrolled in state Medicaid programs.

What ACA related costs are still unknown/unclear?

Historically, the staffing industry has faced serious challenges finding a health insurance product that will serve their high turnover, low participation workforces. Six months ago there were no insurance products available to the staffing industry that would meet ACA actuarial standards. We now have insurance products, but it is not clear if these products will be attractive enough to our temporary and contract workers to incent their participation. We’ll all know much more in six months than we know now about what percent of the people being offered insurance will chose to take it.

How will the individual staffing company deal with their cost increases?

There are as many different pricing philosophies and strategies as there are staffing companies—with the key factors being geography, local business and government taxes, employee type, market positioning, and service offerings. While the pricing structures of staffing companies providing long term professional staff typically have room for premium level healthcare benefits, for staffing companies working in more competitive markets, there is little room to absorb any increased in direct costs. Some staffing companies will offer only the low cost MEC plans, taking the chance that the employees electing their insurance will not go out to the exchange and seek subsidies for better plans. We consider this strategy risky. The ASA study by Towers Watson study revealed that 91% of the staffing firms polled are planning on passing their ACA costs (penalties or insurance costs) back to their clients in the form of across the board increases in bill rates. Most (38%) are planning 2-5% increases. 9% are looking to increases of 16% or more. 19% are still not yet sure how much they will increase bill rates.

How will the price increase be handled?  

Most of the pricing programs we have viewed are designed to smooth out the costs of providing insurance to all eligible employees and spreading those costs across an entire workforce and customer base.
The Towers Watson study indicates that employers can expect their price increase to come in a number of forms. Some will simply do an across the board increase in bill rate; others will see increases in mark ups; some will be adding a line on each invoice for ACA Costs.

How will the increased costs of temporary and contract workers compare with the increased costs associated with the ACA for other types of employees?    

Since the passage of the ACA, actuarial firms have been predicting increases in overall employee costs to be in the area of 5-8%. If this projection plays out, the per hour increase in costs for a temporary or contract employee may end up being much less than the increase in costs associated with the same employee, hired directly. For example, an employee earning $15/hr. hired directly may cost an additional $3.25-3.75/hr. in healthcare benefit costs in 2015 compared to 2014. The same employee provided by a third party staffing agency, might cost $.45-.70 more per hour than they did in 2014. For a more detailed discussion of ACA related “staffing math” and to compare the relative costs of employees hired directly with employees placed through a third party employer, contact our Partnership Development Team at 425-637-3312.

What other cost increases will employers experience in 2015?

We anticipate ACA related cost increases will touch just about every part of our customers’ businesses in 2015. Administrative cost increases alone could be staggering.
Part of the services and costs savings we are delivering to customers in 2015 and beyond is full administration of ACA related compliance.

When it comes to managing staffing providers, are there other elements of the ACA that employers should be paying attention to?

Yes. It may be time to review your staffing contract or agreements. The ACA has its own common law provisions, reinforcing the notion that it is the common law employer who is responsible to offer and pay for ACA mandated benefits. In most temporary or contract staffing arrangements, there is clear legal precedence for the staffing company to be the common law employer, accountable for ACA compliance. That said, we recommend that employers consider adjusting agency contracts to clearly spell out each party's respective roles in managing ACA mandates. PACE is happy to provide language recommendations upon request. For employers purchasing payroll services from their staffing provider, the law is less straight forward and the need for contractual adjustments more important. Again, we recommend that the role of your third party payroll service provider be spelled out clearly and contractually in any ongoing payroll services agreement. We recommend that specific indemnifications related to the ACA liability should become standard clauses of all payroll service agreements and contracts. NOTE: A nuance of the ACA regs specifically requires that if there is a chance or a reason for a payroll agent to not be considered the common law employer, the costs of providing insurance to an ACA benefit eligible employee should be passed back to that client as an increase in rate for the particular employee. Between now and early January, PACE will be speaking with all clients to ensure the proper ACA compliant contracts are in place.

Do we need to be concerned about “abuse” clauses?

The IRS has been very clear that it will be looking closely at staffing firms and their clients to ensure that ACA benefit requirements are not purposefully skirted. For example, an employer who turns their entire 50 person workforce over to a staffing firm, so as to avoid falling into the “large employer” category, would be highly suspect. An employer who employees 48 people and regularly uses a staffing company to provide 5-10 employees for its peak busy periods, on the other hand, is likely not suspect, even though their use of temporary staff keeps them below the 50 employee benchmark. The difference? Their temporary staffing strategy was designed to address a business need—not to avoid offering benefits. Splitting employees between a staffing company and their client or between two staffing companies so that no one “employer” reaches the 50 employee benchmark has been specifically prohibited. While PACE will continue to be strong advocates for all of the business reasons to use more flexible staffing strategies, we will only recommend changes that are based on business need, not ACA avoidance.

Is there future ACA stuff that we should be thinking about for 2016 and beyond?

Yes.
  1. Discrimination Issues. Current thinking is that all the ACA specific regulations related to discrimination will come out in 2015 and be implemented in 2016. The ACA is clear that any plan or employer contribution that provides a differential benefit in favor of highly compensated employees will be specifically disallowed. This means that once discrimination regulations have been written and put into play, employers will no longer be able to provide special plans or higher levels of contribution to their higher paid employees—short of making them available via post-tax dollars.
  2. Special tax on Cadillac Plans. In 2018, employers will be taxed on Cadillac benefit that cost more than $10,200 ($850)/month per individual. The tax on Cadillac plans is 40%—making these plans prohibitive for most employers. Employers with Cadillac plans will likely look for alternative approaches.
We hope you have benefited from reading this primer on the ACA and how it will impact your use of temporary and contract workers after January 1, 2015. For more personalized consultation, please contact our infodesk@pacestaffing.com or by calling 425-637-3312 to arrange an appointment with one of our ACA Specialists.
jeanneThis article was prepared by Jeanne Knutzen, CSC, the President and Founder of the PACE Staffing Network. PACE remains committed to full compliance with the ACA and offers a variety of staffing products and services designed to ensure that our clients have options for containing the costs associated with ACA compliance. For a confidential discussion of how these services might be applied to your workforce, particularly your temporary and contract employees, contact a member of our PSN partnership team at infodesk@pacestaffing.com or 425.6376.3312.    

PACE Enters into Partnership with Prominent Customer Satisfaction Research Firm

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 28, 2014

0 PACE News! customer satisfaction, customer satisfaction research company, Customer Satisfaction Research Firm, Employment Agency Bellevue, Employment Agency Everett, Employment Agency Kent, Employment Agency Seattle, Employment Agency Tacoma, Employment Agency Washington State, Inavero

The PACE Management Team is excited to announce that we have entered into a new partnership with Inavero, a highly specialized customer satisfaction research company. Inavero will conduct regular surveys of our relationships with our customers to find out how we are doing—through our client’s eyes. One of the reasons we chose Inavero is that their research methodology is very simple, plus works in real time to identify and address issues that any one customer might have with their interactions with us. NancyIn the next few weeks, we will be emailing clients who we have done business in the last three months asking for their feedback on 3 short survey questions designed to score your satisfaction with our service. Responses showing ratings of less than 6 will be routed to our internal quality control team for immediate follow up and remedy. The use of a third party customer satisfaction process is new for us and reflects a program we will be piloting for the coming year. The goal is to tap into anything out customers believe would strengthen their partnership with us and we are looking forward to getting your feedback.

Susan G. Komen 3-Day in Seattle with PSN Recruiter Amber!

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 23, 2014

0 PACE News!

1 On September 19th, 2014 Amber Van Horn, a PACE Manager responsible for Recruiting and Service Quality, participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day event in Seattle, WA. The 3-Day was all about making a commitment to honor someone who is battling breast cancer—or in memory of someone lost. And it was also about playing a role in creating a world without breast cancer. 4 We could not be more proud of Amber for challenging herself on this life-changing journey. It was a 3-day journey, that for Amber, will last a lifetime! Way to go!

Political Arguments in the Workplace

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 23, 2014

0 Resources for Employers, Hiring Managers, HR Professionals political arguments, Robin Throckmorton, Strategic Human Resources, Strategic Human Resources Inc., workplace policies

By Strategic Human Resources, Inc. Question: With election time drawing near, we have some employees who have been very vocal about their political beliefs, including making insulting remarks about those who do not share their views. This is making other employees uncomfortable. What can we do as an employer to control political arguments in the workplace? Answer: Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, employers have the right to regulate and control employee work time and, as a result, may restrict any political activity during work time by prohibiting certain activities and behaviors that interfere with an employee's (or other employees') work. This includes wearing campaign buttons or t-shirts, leafleting, and disruptive commentary in the workplace. According to Michelle Reid, Esq. of Dallas-based Employment Practices Solutions, intelligent political dialogue can increase camaraderie and interaction between coworkers, but it can quickly escalate into arguments and lead to formal complaints and a divisive work environment. Reid states all organizations should have a policy that addresses discussions that may not be suitable for the workplace and the importance of maintaining a tolerant environment. Further, since political discussions between two people with opposing views rarely have a happy ending, train managers on how to diffuse an impassioned political discussion. Strategic Human Resources, Inc., is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached at Robin@strategichrinc.com.

Beware of the Counteroffer: What it Really Says . . .

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 23, 2014

0 Managing People. Team Leadership counteroffer, Don Charlton, Employee Raises, Employee Retention, employment counteroffer, Employment Staffing, The Resumator

By Don Charlton Think about it: an employee successfully went through the process of finding, interviewing, and accepting a new job, only to be pulled back in by the company they already committed to leaving. It may make you ask, "Should I make a counteroffer?" We've talked about instances in which it might actually be beneficial to have employees who are motivated by money, but this isn't one of them. Whether their reason is salary, position, a better company, or sheer boredom, there are very few instances, if any, when a counter offer should be made–or accepted. The reality is even if a counter offer is accepted, the employee will soon fall back into the funnel of unhappiness or doubt that originally caused him to look for a new job. More often than not, the offer just delays the inevitable. What does a counter offer truly say from an employer? "Hey, you know what? You called our bluff! We have been underpaying you for years. You are truly worth a lot more than we are currently paying you, so let's make this right." "We understand your frustrations. This $20k increase in your pay will make those frustrations disappear." "Now that we have "committed" to you as a vital cog in our organization's success, we expect you to up your game. You didn't expect that $20k raise to come without more responsibilities did you? You owe us!" What accepting a counteroffer truly says about the employee. "For sale!" "I'm going to go with whoever makes me the best deal! Their commitment to me doesn't matter." "I'm probably going to do it to you, too! Each day without a raise starts the clock ticking!" What does giving a counter offer tell your co-workers? "Wait a second–two days ago, that guy was hacked off and out the door. Now he's walking into a bigger office with a bigger smile? Gee, I wonder what could have happened. . ." "The only way to get a raise around here is to threaten to leave." "That guy gets $10k more than me, so shouldn't I have to do $10k less work? Or should I just tell them I got a better offer?" Sounds bad, right? Here's the alternative. Great employees don't act randomly. They're too talented, and in too much demand for that. Instead of scratching and clawing to keep them, ask yourself: "Why is this super-talented person leaving my company? And how can I stop it from happening again?" The effects of counter offers–even juicy ones–are temporary. Bad workplaces are much longer-term. Put the $20k to good use and invest in your current employees. Use the savings to invest in the employees that deserve to be invested in. Simply put: counter offers may work for professional athletes, but leave them out of the office! Don Charlton is the CEO and founder of The Resumator, a Pittsburgh-based company founded in 2009. The Resumator provides a social hiring platform to companies of all sizes. Boasting over 10,000 users, it has helped over 1,300 companies generate 1.5 million resumes in only three short years and is also the chosen hiring system of Pinterest, Instagram, and Atari, among others. Charlton can be reached at editor@mamumediallc.com or via Twitter at @Dontrepreneur.

3 Lessons Companies Can Learn From Kindergarteners

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 23, 2014

0 Uncategorized Darcy Jacobsen, Globoforce, Shout Out Friday, work friendships, Workforce Mood Tracker report

By Darcy Jacobsen Last week, my daughter completed her first month of kindergarten. It was an overwhelming and incredibly exciting experience for her. (And let's face it, for me, too.) I'm sure a lot of you have been there. During the first week of school, parents are invited to hang out for morning assembly. I spent a lot of time waiting around and observing, and thinking about how, minus all the shouting and tears, the first week of school is a lot like starting a new job. Though obviously employees are not children, in a lot of ways kids are simply a more expressive, honest version of the adults around them. With this microcosm in mind I wanted to share three things I noticed that I think also apply in the adult work world: 1. Shout Outs Inspire Everyone Every Friday at my daughter's school is "Shout-out Friday"–when the presenting class chooses a person who best displayed the school's values of Be Responsible, Respectful, Safe and Kind. Last week the second grade class chose Finneas. "Finneas," they said, "you always include everyone and you are so very kind and nice to the new kids. We're going to miss you so much when you move away." Finneas' jaw (quite literally) dropped. He turned pink and absolutely beamed. But what struck me was the way the rest of the class also lit up. The delight on their faces as they grinned at him. The way they all moved a little closer to him. The evident pride and excitement when they handed him the oversized card they'd all written notes on. The moment was about Finneas. But it inspired every child on that stage, because they were able to share it with him and because they had created it for him. When we miss the opportunity to include an entire community in a moment of appreciation, to invite them to participate and to invite them to witness it, we rob that moment of its potential. 2. Values Are Not Just Words The first month of school is all about getting the routine down. I was struck by how grounded my daughter and her classmates became by something as simple as the school values. Values are a very important thing at her school, and the teachers are in the habit of referring to them often and actively pointing out when they see the kids do something in support of them. "Awesome way to be respectful, Charlie!" "That was very kind, Fiona." My daughter is a rules kid, and she went to kindergarten after three years in the same program, so the adjustment of learning new rules and setting new and entirely different goals was daunting for her. But in just five days I noticed a difference as she not only learned the new routine, but she began to really internalize those values as a guiding light. "Be Responsible, Respectful, Safe and Kind" has become part of her vocabulary. The words matter to her–not just as words but as guiding principles and as something she can do and be. When we offer people a chance to really understand and practice our values, we offer them a sense of security and alignment that is invaluable in helping them thrive. 3. Emotions Are Contagious The fact that emotions are contagious can cut both ways. Anyone who has worked in a toxic company or department can attest to that. But a lot of times at work, we express the negative emotions and keep the positive ones to ourselves. Yet the positive emotions have the most incredible power. As my daughter and I were leaving the playground the other day to come home, a little girl she'd been playing with ran up to me. "She's my friend," she announced, pointing to my daughter. "Bye friend." "Goodbye," Nell said, beaming a little. The little girl started to get misty-eyed. "Will you come back tomorrow? I will miss you. I like having you as a friend." Nell reassured her saying, "I'll be back." But now my daughter's smile was huge, and she left the playground skipping. "She really likes me, Mommy," she grinned. "I really like school." It's the people who make our work experience. And it is the undercurrent of emotional connection and a shared journey that keep us committed to our co-workers and companies. When people express to us how important we are to them, it makes them more important to us, and therefore makes our experience infinitely more rich. That's one of the reasons that social recognition and social service anniversaries work so well. Last week Globoforce launched our latest Workforce Mood Tracker report, which has some really interesting findings about the power of work friendships and the sharing of emotions. But for me, the simple observation of children expressing themselves and the incredible power of being appreciated is enough to keep me going. Darcy Jacobsen is a content marketing manager at Globoforce, the world's leading provider of SaaS (software-as-a-service)–based employee recognition solutions. Through its social, mobile, and global technology, Globoforce helps HR and business leaders elevate employee engagement, increase employee retention, manage company culture, and discover the power of real-time performance management. Contact her or follow her writing at www.globoforce.com/gfblog.

The Number of Employees Testing Positive for Marijuana Is Up Significantly

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 21, 2014

0 Legal Issues - Staffing, Managing People. Team Leadership drug testing, Employment Agency Bellevue, Employment Agency Everett, Employment Agency Kent, Employment Agency Seattle, Employment Agency Tacoma, Employment Agency Washington State, hiring, Hiring Bellevue, Hiring Everett, Hiring Tacoma, Marijuana testing, Marijuana testing Colorado, Marijuana testing Washington, Temporary Staffing Bellevue, Temporary Staffing Everett, Temporary Staffing Kent, Temporary Staffing Seattle, Temporary Staffing Tacoma, Temporary Staffing Washington

As reported by Allen Smith, Manager of Workplace Law for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), in a mid-September announcement. Using data provided by Quest Diagnostics for calendar years 2012 and 2013, the increase reported represents the FIRST INCREASE in marijuana positives since 2003! After reaching a high of 13.6% in 1988, positive drug testing outcomes had been steadily decreasing. In 2013, positive test results were up 3.7%, following a 3.5% increase in the positive rate the year prior. The connection between this increase and the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington did not go unnoticed. Positive results for marijuana use in Washington increased by 23% and in Colorado 20%, compared to a 5% increase among the US general workforce covering all 50 states. The PACE Staffing Network has been offering and then administering drug testing on our client’s behalf since the early 1990s. Initially, our clients got a lot of push back on their drug testing policies, but today, both pre-hire and random drug testing practices are considered the norm with only an occasional challenge from the ADA related to screenings for prescription drugs. While “for cause” testing is more frequently contested, according to Quest, it is the most common reason why workers are drug tested. At the current time, our clients range from zero tolerance employers who require all applicants for either permanent or temporary employment to be rigorously drug tested, to employers who openly request that we not drug screen, concerned that recruiting results will fall short of the numbers of employees needed—particularly when the workers are being used for short term, temporary assignments where product out the door is the driving factor in HR policy. Some employers claim that while some of their workers are known weekend marijuana users, they are amongst their best workers and don’t want an unnecessarily “restrictive” HR policy to interfere with their “business as usual” mentality. The type of drug testing our clients ask us to administer provides some clue as to their level of “tolerance” they are willing to enforce and at what cost. Employers who are serious about eliminating any type of drug use from their workforce typically require hair testing over urine or saliva testing because of its ability to uncover signs of drug use for up to 6 months. Unfortunately, we anticipate these will be the first types of drug testing methods to be legally challenged. While at the current time employers in both Washington and Colorado retain the right to restrict the recreational use of marijuana by employees and can impose sanctions on employees testing positive for marijuana whether it was ingested during a work day or on the weekend. Many believe that the court test of these “one size fits all” types of drug testing policies and sanctions are just around the corner.