Employees Are Quitting Jobs Because of Affordable Care Act in 2014

Learn more about changes and recent court decisions as it relates to employer compliance and the ACA. Join us on 1/16/13 at 11 AM EST for our webinar. Click here to register. 

Welcome to the new employee benefit insurance world, courtesy of our friends the ACA. The news media hasn’t been short of stories, articles and news segments sharing information related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act or ACA. Essentially employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide benefits to their employees as part of the ACA which began January 1, 2014. Companies threatened particularly those in the retail, restaurant and hospital industries with part time workers to reduce employee’s average hours to less then 30 hours per week while others like Disney made the decision to offer every employee health benefits that works for their company.

Surviving as an Employer in the Post ACA World

Either way, it’s still a new post-ACA world we are all living in. Benefits are available. In fact they are required by law to have as an individual and in most cases must be offered by an employer or face penalty.  The expense and cost of employers offering those benefits is still being debated. However, there are still many unknowns and factors that we may not have considered as employers and business leaders when it comes to the ACA.

Offering health benefits and perks are important to employees and are a key employee retention and turnover reduction tool. In fact, health benefits are listed as a top 5 benefit that job seekers look for when evaluating companies as potential employer prospects. The top 5 list from CEB’s 2013 Global Labor Market Research is below:

1) Stability

2) Compensation

3) Respect

4) Health Benefits

5) Work Life Balance


ACA to Blame for Increase in Employee Turnover

So what happens when a coveted employee perk like health benefits becomes available to nearly everyone? Economics call an employee retention tool or perk successful at retaining an employee “job locking.” A job lock in the form of a perk or benefit locks employees out of looking for new work because it’s availability is scare and the value having it so great. So what happens when the benefit is now available to almost everyone?  We will see a continued increase in the amount of employee turnover resulting from employee health benefits. Pre-existing conditions are no longer a concern for those employees that have either been uninsured or can’t obtain insurance if that is the only employer benefit that has been holding them back.

When it comes to the ACA requirements for employers, I see not only an increase in employee turnover because of the increased availability to a larger population but more importantly to long tenure employees like my friend’s wife who has stayed at her union call center job for 15 years because of her husband’s pre-existing condition from a heart value replacement surgery. Until January 1, he couldn’t get independent insurance coverage so she remained at her employer. She left late last year and has been enjoying COBRA until the new year.

If health insurance no longer matters, how do we attract and retain the best? Has the ACA influenced your candidate recruitment and employee retention strategies or as an employer are you hiring more part time and project based workers to avoid the requirements under the Affordable Care Act? I think yes because your best workers are locked into a single employer any longer. They have choices. They can be insured. They can work for a competitor who doesn’t offer benefits or they can work for themselves as an entrepreneur.

Spousal and Dependent Benefits Are the New Job Lock

The real employee retention tool isn’t employee health benefits. It’s spousal and family health care benefits and incentives that are the new way to recruit, hire and retain your best and brightest employees. These are the new job lock that employers can retain employees.

Learn more about changes and recent court decisions as it relates to employer compliance and the ACA. Join us on 1/16/13 at 11 AM EST for our webinar. Click here to register. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.

Reader Interactions


  1. Daniel Christian says

    We have seen this already here in the retail side. Definite increase in voluntary turnover. I have a feeling that this was not an unintended consequence though of the ACA much like so many of the other things that have come as a result of this catastrophic piece of “legislation”. I put legislation in quotes because yes it was once voted on so long ago now but seemingly forever being changed at the presidents whim. Sure is keeping businesses and insurance companies on their toes for sure. Not good for business, definitely not good for the economy.


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