Lipinski Introduces Bill Protecting Workers by Eliminating Obamacare Incentive for Businesses to Cut Hours of Part-Time Employees

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) today introduced the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act of 2013, H.R. 2988, a bill that would take away an unintended incentive created in Obamacare for employers to cut the hours of part-time employees. H.R. 2988 would change the healthcare law’s definition of “full-time employment” from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week, the standard work week widely recognized in law and by employers, when applying the employer mandate.

“Even with the Administration’s recent decision to delay the Obamacare employer mandate for one year, we already know some employers are preparing to meet the law’s guidelines by slashing workers’ hours and forcing them to work 29 hours a week or less. This is reducing the take-home pay for millions of Americans at a time when they can least afford it,” Rep. Lipinski said. “The Forty Hours Is Full Time Act keeps the usual 40 hour full-time work week in place without sacrificing the goal of providing affordable, quality healthcare to Americans.”

Under Obamacare, employers with more than 50 full-time employees risk having to pay a fine if they do not offer health insurance to their workers. According to a recent University of California Berkeley Labor Center study, as many as 2.3 million Americans, mostly hourly workers in the restaurant, nursing home, retail and service industries, would see their hours cut as their employers adapt to the new rules.

A July 28 editorial in the Chicago Tribune pointed out that the 30-hour provision would not only incentivize businesses to increasingly turn to a part-time work force working fewer hours, but put greater strain on the economy and place more of a burden on taxpayers to pay for a greater share of their health insurance under Obamacare.

The Forty Hours is Full Time Act of 2013 mirrors a bipartisan bill crafted in the Senate by Sen. Susan Collins (ME) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (IN).

Supporters of Rep. Lipinski’s bill include the Food Marketing Institute, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Association and Dunkin Brands.

“The National Restaurant Association and our members appreciate Congressman Lipinski’s introduction of the Forty Hours is Full Time Act in the House, signaling bipartisan and bicameral support for addressing the definition of full-time employee in the healthcare law,” said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “The current definition at 30 hours is not aligned with current workforce practices and does not reflect the desire of restaurant and food service employees for flexible work schedules. Only Congress can address this challenge in implementing the law.”

“I commend Rep. Lipinski for introducing this legislation that will provide important relief from the Affordable Care Act’s mandates to both franchisees and small business owners who are responsible for creating one out of every eight private sector jobs in America, while allowing them to grow their businesses and provide flexibility to their employees,” said Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association.


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