Affordable Care Act and the Definition of Full Time Worker

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The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, continues to be a hot topic of debate.

The Republican Party remains the most outspoken when it comes to trying to eliminate the program altogether or with multiple proposed Affordable Care Act changes.  While this law was voted on back in 2010, the concern remains that Obamacare will spark a chain of events that will trickle down to the tax payer’s pockets.

Some members of Congress are working together offering some proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act.  They are Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana.  They are working to adjust the definition of a “full time” employee to someone who works a full 40 hours per week instead of the current 30 hours per week.  This is probably why the President decided to delay this part of the Affordable Care Act for a year.

The Affordable Care Act proposed changes will try to address the concern that employers will reduce their employees working 30+ hours a week down to 29 hours or less, to avoid the requirement.  The concern remains that to avoid these fees more employers will look for ways around this penalty and that the ways around it will cause a loss of hours and money for American workers. 

An employee that is currently considered part-time working an average of 35 hours per week may see their hours get cut to 29 hours per week to ensure they do not qualify as full time.  While this may not sound like much it results in a loss of $60 per week for someone who makes $10 an hour and over $3,000 in lost wages annually.

Some mandates of the Affordable Care Act such as the requirement that all companies with a staff of 50 or more full-time employees must provide coverage has been delayed. The White House announced on July 2, 2014 that they are postponing this mandate until January, 2015. Although the majority of big businesses provide health coverage already, this requirement will have the most effect on restaurants, retail stores, and major hotels that hire low wage earners.

The Donnelly-Collins Affordable Care Act proposed changes aim to give Americans back their lost work hours and to significantly reduce the number of businesses that are subject to the ACA penalties.

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