Employers: Tell Congress that 40 Hours is Full Time

In May 2019, Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced S. 1510 and Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced H.R. 2782, theEmployee Flexibility Act. These bipartisan bills will provide much needed relief for both employers that must comply with tracking employee hours and employees who have seen their pay reduced due to a corresponding reduction in work hours. While previous iterations of this legislation have not passed both chambers for the president’s consideration, with the newly divided Congress and renewed focus on finding bipartisan solutions to ongoing health-reform challenges, we are greatly encouraged by the re-introduction of this legislation to the new session of Congress and call on all NAHU members to tell your legislators to support these bills.

Setting the definition of a full-time employee from 30 hours to the traditional 40-hours standard will help prevent employees from losing needed hours and reduce employer exposure to the ACA’s employer shared responsibility requirements. Employers large and small are finding it difficult to comply with this change from the traditional standard for a full-time employee and the extensive tracking of employee hours it requires. As a result, many employers that 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 to avoid the possibility that an employee slips over the 30-hour threshold. According to a study by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, at least 2.3 million workers are at risk of reduced hours as a result of this requirement.

This provision of the law makes it harder for employers to run their businesses and for American workers to provide for their families, and stalls overall economic growth. Employees who do not have access to employer coverage, including those workers with reduced hours, have the option of buying individual coverage including, if eligible, subsidized coverage through the marketplaces. However, with their hours being cut, these workers are ultimately less able to afford coverage, especially if they are not eligible for federal tax credits, and often pay the individual mandate penalty instead.

Take action today! Please urge your legislators to support this legislation. Strong bipartisan support will be critical for demonstrating the urgent need for this change on behalf of employers and employees.