Baby Boomers, Contingent Workers and the Affordable Care Act

178714882The idea of hiring part-time, temporary and contingent workers to save costs is not new, yet the trend is definitely increasing. As the economic uncertainty of recent years has caused employers to cut down their full-time employee base and do more with less, many have realized the benefits of filling those talent gaps with contingent workers. Further driving the adoption and expansion of contingent worker programs is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will further strain budgets by requiring employers to provide health coverage to all of their full-time employees.

With a greater financial burden on employers, many are rethinking how they utilize their full-time employees and contingent workers. And, it is clear that the growing trend of leveraging contingent workers to fill positions previously held by full-time employees is not just a matter of convenience for the company. As today’s workers often demand greater flexibility regarding when, where and how much they work, many are eschewing permanent positions for the flexibly of temporary, part-time engagements. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is expected that the number of contingent workers in the workforce will rise by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, with the total number of contingent workers reaching 3.3 million. As the impact of the ACA continues to take shape, many employers are accelerating their contingent worker program to help mitigate rising healthcare costs.

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As the regulations of the ACA go into effect over the next couple of years, companies are unable to predict exactly how the legislation will impact the costs involved with having to expand healthcare coverage. Companies have responded to this uncertainty by slowing down the hiring of new employees, not refilling vacated positions and reducing their full-time employee workforce.

For organizations of any size, a comprehensive contingent workforce program that ensures access to qualified talent to fill current and future gaps is essential. And, as organizations build out their programs, many have found that the contingent labor talent pool increasingly consists of baby boomers. The appeal of contingent work among baby boomers, whether they have already retired or will do so in the near future, is due to a number of reasons. For baby boomers still in the workforce, many enjoy the reduction in hours spent working as they begin the transition to retirement. For those who have already retired, coming back to work on a part-time basis enables them to supplement their pensions without having to return to the rigors of full-time employment. Still, others simply enjoy the challenges that their work gives them and aren’t ready to leave that behind.

In addition to saving financial resources in light of growing uncertainty around the ACA, companies gain many other benefits when they retain their baby boomer employees as part-time workers, or bring their already retired employees back to work on a contingent basis. Doing so enables the company to still benefit from the wealth of experience and professional insight they can offer. For example, baby boomers can work as consultants, providing guidance to the company on its initiatives, or serve as mentors to their younger counterparts, transferring useful company knowledge to the next generation of leaders.

While many of the effects of the ACA remain to be seen, companies can respond to these changes proactively by changing the nature of their workforce and by hiring more contingent workers. This enables them to create a more flexible, on-demand talent base they can leverage as business needs change, while ensuring they continue to benefit from the expertise of their most experienced workers. As a result, they can operate more strategically by utilizing a pool of qualified individuals when they need them the most, while reducing the financial strain that the ACA is likely to bring.

MORE: First big shoe drops under the ACA

Randy Jesberg

Randy Jesberg
Randy Jesberg is SVP of sales and general manager at Peoplefluent Inc. He has more than 22 years' experience in business development, international expansion and channel partnerships.

Randy Jesberg

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  15. […] of contingency, and it is still a growing percentage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the contingent workforce to grow 23% by […]

  16. […] The idea of hiring part-time, temporary and contingent workers to save costs is not new, yet the trend is definitely increasing.  […]

  17. […] According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is expected that the number of contingent workers in the workforce will rise by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, with the total number of contingent workers reaching 3.3 million. As the impact of the ACA continues to take shape, many employers are accelerating their contingent worker program to help mitigate rising healthcare costs.  […]

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