House Panel OKs Bill To Increase ACA’s Hourly Work Week Standard
On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced a bill (HR 2575) that would change the Affordable Care Act's definition of a full-time worker to those who work 40 hours per week, the Washington Times' "Inside Politics" reports (Howell, "Inside Politics," Washington Times, 2/4).
Under the ACA's employer mandate, which takes effect in 2015, employers with at least 50 full-time workers -- defined as working more than 30 hours per week -- must provide affordable health coverage, or face a $2,000 fine per worker after the first 30 employees.
Critics of the 30-hour threshold have argued that businesses usually consider employees that work 40 hours per week as full-timers. Therefore, the 30-hour limit might incentivize employers to cut employees' hours to avoid having to provide health coverage or pay penalties under the employer mandate (California Healthline, 6/16/13).
The bill, which advanced on a party line vote of 23-14, would raise the weekly work hour threshold from 30 hours to 40 hours.
House Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said the bill was necessary to protect U.S. residents from hourly reductions as the result of the ACA.
However, committee member Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) called the bill a "tremendous step backward," adding, "While changing to a 40-hour standard might help businesses escape their responsibility to contribute to a healthy workforce, if you care about workers and their benefits, you will oppose this measure" (Kim, CQ Roll Call, 2/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.