Original content from NAHU Government Affairs
Employers please send an important message to your Senators urging them to support bipartisan legislation to restore the definition of a full-time employee from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week under the health reform law.
Last month, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Joe Donnelley (D-IN) introduced S. 1188, The Forty Hours is Full Time Act of 2013. This bipartisan bill would change the definition of a full time employee from 30 hours to 40 hours (or 174 hours a month for full-time equivalents) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act (PPACA). Changing the definition of a full time employee from 30 hours back to the traditional 40 hours will help prevent employers from slashing employee hours in order to reduce expose to the health reform law’s employer shared responsibility requirements. Under the law employers with 50 or more full time employees or full time equivalents must provide employees who work an average of 30 hours or more a week with health coverage or face an eventual financial penalty. Employers large and small are finding it difficult to comply with this change to the traditional definition of a full-time employee, and the extensive tracking of employee hours it requires. As a result, many employers who have not traditionally provided coverage to workers averaging less than 40 hours a week are reducing employee hours to well below 30 hours a week. . According to one study conducted by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, at least 2.3 million workers are at risk of reduced hours as a result of the health reform law.
This provision is not only makes it harder for employers to run their businesses and for Americans to put food on the table, it also ultimately stalls the economic growth of the country. Those who do not have access to employer coverage, including those workers with reduced hours, will have the option of buying individual coverage, including, if income eligible, subsidized coverage through the new state marketplaces. However, with working hours being cut, workers from these companies will have less money in their pockets overall , making health insurance even more difficult to afford, especially if they are not eligible for a federal tax credit.