IBJNews

Hoosier lawmakers attack Obamacare's 30-hour rule

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Two Indiana lawmakers are leading a charge in Washington to repeal a provision of Obamacare that defines full-time work as 30 hours per week.

U.S. Rep. Todd Young and U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly have sponsored bills in the House and Senate, respectively, that would restore 40-hours-per-week as the federal definition of full-time work.

It’s a change that Indiana employers say is needed, as they have responded to the Obamacare rule by reducing hours for part-time workers below the 30-hour rule. This has reduced hours for thousands of Hoosier workers at restaurants, retailers, school corporations, municipalities and colleges.

The 30-hour rule created enough concern among school corporations—which have part-time bus drivers, cooks and other personnel—that 39 of them in Indiana have sued the Obama administration to nullify Obamacare’s taxes on government employers that do not provide affordable health benefits.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce strongly favors the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act, as the Donnelly-sponsored bill is known. And Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder went to Washington this month to testify in favor of Young’s bill, which is called the Save American Workers Act.

But the fix proposed by Young and Donnelly would harm more than it would help, according to an analysis by the University of California-Berkeley’s Labor Center. It found that Obamacare’s 30-hour rule puts 2.3 million workers at risk for having their hours reduced.

But reinstituting the 40-hour rule would put more than 6.5 million workers at risk for reduced hours, according to a December report. It would also effectively kill the employer mandate, which requires employers with 50 or more workers to provide affordable health insurance coverage, or else pay a $2,000 per-worker penalty when the workers instead buy coverage in Obamacare’s individual insurance exchanges.

“The Forty Hours is Full Time Act would make it nearly costless for employers to reduce work hours to avoid the penalty given the ease of moving from a 40-hour to 39-hour work schedule,” wrote Ken Jacobs and Dave Graham-Squire, researchers at the UC-Berkeley Labor Center. “The Forty Hours is Full Time Act would effectively eliminate the employer requirements under the Affordable Care Act. It would result in a reduction of employer-sponsored insurance and a shift of costs from employers onto the federal government.”

In spite of this prediction, it appears that Donnelly’s bill is gaining support in the Senate Finance Committee, said Susan Rider, a benefits broker at Indianapolis-based Gregory & Appel who tracks federal legislation related to health benefits.

“Any employer that has folks with variable hours is dramatically affected,” Rider said.

Donnelly, a Democrat, co-sponsored the bill last summer with Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine.

“It is my view—based on what I hear from Hoosier employees and employers—that we need to fix the definition of ‘full-time employee’ under the Affordable Care Act,” Donnelly said this month in a statement. “I hope we can work together, both Democrats and Republicans, to make the health care law work better for Hoosier families, employees, and employers.”

They have attracted 11 more co-sponsors, although only one is a Democrat.

That makes the bill’s fate in the Democrat-controlled Senate uncertain at best.

Young’s bill has attracted 205 sponsors, all but six of them Republicans.

“The new class of employees dubbed the ‘Obamacare 29ers’ continues to grow,” Young said before taking testimony Feb. 4 on his bill. He cited the UC-Berkeley research on how Obamacare's 30-hour rule puts workers at risk, but not its research on how restoring the 40-hour rule would affect more workers. “The closer we get to January 1, 2015, the more I suspect we’ll continue to see the ranks of 29ers grow.”

Ivy Tech plans to reduce the hours of about 1,000 of its 4,500 adjunct professors. Those are the professors who teach 12 or more credit hours per semester. That’s because Obamacare’s regulations, which are still being written, call for the out-of-class preparatory time of adjunct professors to be counted as working hours. Ivy Tech expects the Obama administration to require two hours of prep time to be counted for every hour in class. So only by limiting its adjunct professors’ teaching to nine hours per semester can the college keep their total number of hours worked under 30 per week.

If Ivy Tech did provide health insurance to those 1,000 adjunct professors, it would cost the school $10 million to $17 million, Snyder estimated.

“Like many community colleges, our funding does not allow us to absorb large unfunded mandates such as any employee who exceeds 30 hours being offered health insurance,” Snyder said. "The potential penalties we could face for exceeding these 30 hours, knowing that we have thousands of adjuncts, of course is not an option we could even consider.”

But the researchers at the UC-Berkeley Labor Center think there is a better solution to the challenge. Lawmakers could pro-rate Obamacare’s penalties, so that they increase with the number of hours an employee works. Part-time workers nowhere near the 30-hour threshold would result in only small penalties if they were not provided health insurance, but workers with nearly 40 hours of work would come closer to the full $2,000 penalty, making it more likely that employers would offer health benefits to them.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • CRAZY CHANGE & EFFECT
    My 2 teenagers who work at a fast food restaurant can't work more than 29 hours per week because of this. And I just got a letter from the school system that as a substitute teacher I can't work more than 30 hours per week now either. THANKS a lot OBAMACARE. Full time work has been 40 hours for YEARS. What a crazy change and UNDESIRED EFFECT this is having.
  • So much of the rest of the world works 30 hrs a week.
    They have much longer vacations, and in general, much better working conditions. Personally, I would love three 2 week vacations a year.
  • No big deal
    Our company's insurance providers have always used 30 hours as a guideline for eligibility for insurance.
  • poor worker
    Again the worker gets the shaft. The 30 hour rule will force many companies to make workers "full time" and thus give them Health Insurance, so Indiana lawmakers are trying to rewrite the law to keep them uninsured...SHAME
  • Working without insurance
    The workers are being attacked once more. Now we are expected to work 39 hours a week without health insurance? I would hate to think my children's bus driver having to their job without proper health insurance. I don't want them passing out in the middle of the morning drive and crashing the bus, simply because they had an undiagnosed or untreated illness.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

  2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

  3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

  4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

  5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!

ADVERTISEMENT