Washington Update

Legislation Filed to Redefine a Standard Work Week Under the Affordable Care Act

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Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Susan M. Collins (R-ME) introduced a bill (S. 1188) that would raise the standard for a full-time employee under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from 30 to 40 hours per week.

Under the Affordable Care Act’s provisions in tax code Section 4980H (also known as the individual mandate), starting in 2014, employers with at least 50 full-time and/or full-time equivalent employees will be required to offer affordable health care coverage that provides a minimum level of coverage, or potentially pay a penalty.

The two senators also sent a letter to President Obama, expressing concern about ACA's definition of a full-time employee, stating that it does not follow what they claim is the commonly held employer standard of 40 hours per week. The letter indicated concern that employers will cut employee hours “to ensure their compliance with the law.”

Whether the legislation will advance is uncertain, and given the lack of support for the ACA, particularly in the House, the legislation faces an uphill battle.

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