Washington, D.C. — To protect American workers, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D–IN) announced the reintroduction of their Forty Hours is Full Time Act, which would change the definition of a “full-time employee” under the Affordable Care Act to someone who works an average of 40 hours per week.
Employers across our country continue to make decisions to cut employees’ hours due to how the health care law currently defines a “full-time employee” – as someone who works an average of 30 hours per week. Employers are making the law’s 30-hour standard part of their business planning, and as a result, employers nationwide are cutting their workers’ hours to 29 hours a week or fewer. The bipartisan legislation would help employees impacted by the current definition of a full-time worker and allow employers to better plan for the future by using the more commonly accepted definition of “full time”: someone who works 40 hours.
“Our legislation is very straightforward and would remedy a serious flaw in the Affordable Care Act that is causing workers to have their hours reduced and their pay cut. The law creates a perverse incentive for businesses to cut their employees’ hours so they are no longer considered ‘full time.’ Our concerns are not hypothetical: thousands of employers across our country are cutting work hours or staffing levels as a result of the law,” said Senator Collins. “The employees affected by this rule aren’t limited to any one sector. In Maine, I have heard from school employees, restaurant staff, seasonal employees, home care nurses, municipal workers, and many more. Our goal is simple. We want to protect part-time workers from having their hours reduced and their paychecks cut because of the illogical definition of full-time work in this law.”
“I believe that we can work together to fix issues with the health care law and improve our health care system,” said Senator Donnelly. “I have heard from part-time workers across many industries, like school cafeteria managers to grocery store employees to adjunct professors at colleges, that have seen their hours cut to comply with the health care law. In Indiana, common sense holds that a full-time employee is someone who works an average of 40 hours a week, and the health care law should reflect that. I’m proud to partner with my friend and colleague Senator Collins to reintroduce the Forty Hours is Full Time Act, and I am hopeful the Senate will consider this bipartisan bill soon.”
The Forty Hours is Full Time Act that was reintroduced this week is the same legislation that Senators Collins and Donnelly first introduced in June 2013 and again in 2015.