Here's some bad news for health-care starved restaurant employees: A group of lobbyists serving the restaurant and retail industries in Washington are hoping to change the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) definition of who counts as a full-time employee. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the ACA requires that certain companies with "50 or more full-time equivalent employees" provide health care coverage to the workers and their dependents.
What's to stop an employer from only allowing employees to work 39 hours per week?
Currently, those who work at least 30 hours per week are considered full-time. However, the lobbyists want the definition to be changed to "the more historic standard of 40 hours per week." They claim that "the 30-hour definition under the current healthcare law forces employers to restructure our workforce and unwantedly reduce employee hours."
Employee Benefit News points out that the change "could release many employers from having to offer health care coverage to their employees." What's to stop an employer from only allowing employees to work 39 hours per week? It's a sneaky solution, and one that could put hundreds of thousands of workers at uninsured risk.
With the new mandates, some restaurants have turned to adding a healthcare surcharge to diners' checks to help cover costs. But many have found loopholes to wiggle out of offering their employees healthcare coverage at all. House members are scheduled to vote on the ACA workweek bill today.