Last week, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) introduced the Employee Flexibility Act of 2019, which would change the definition of a “full-time employee” under the Affordable Care Act from someone who works an average of 30 hours per week to the traditional 40 hours per week.
Our nation has traditionally used the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as the standard of defining full-time employment as 40 hours per week. However, in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted a full-time threshold for the purposes of requiring employers to offer their employees health coverage at 30 hours per week. This new threshold fundamentally changed workforce policy and business operations and resulted in employers cutting their workers’ hours. This change primarily hurt variable-hour and part-time workers who have lost the flexibility to add or trade shifts to make ends meet or earn extra money for such things as school tuition and credit card payments.
The Employee Flexibility Act of 2019 would once again provide employees with the flexibility to gain hours and increase their paychecks, and provides businesses with ACA compliance relief by having a standard consistent with the FLSA requirement that defines full-time employment as 40 hours per week.
“Many employees in Indiana faced reduced hours and earning ability as a result of the Affordable Care Act’s 30-hour threshold. Our bill would fix this error and ensure that Hoosiers can support their families, trade shifts, and earn more money. I previously led the introduction of similar legislation in the House and I will continue working to ensure it becomes law,” said Senator Young.
“This legislation will fix part of Obamacare by changing the 30 hour work week to the Fair Labor Standards Act traditional 40 hour work week requirement for full time employee healthcare. By enacting this change, workers will be able to work more hours, pick-up and trade shifts, and increase their pay so they can support their families,” said Senator Manchin.
“Thanks to Republican pro-growth policies, our economy is booming and continues to provide people with more jobs and opportunities. This legislation is another step Congress should take to empower American workers. By repealing a flawed Obamacare policy that defines full-time work at 30 hours per week, we will allow more people to take advantage of this strong economy, and put more money in their pockets,” said Senator Barrasso.
“Our bipartisan bill is a commonsense fix providing stability for Arizona employers, and giving more Arizona workers flexibility to work enough hours to provide for themselves and their families,” said Senator Sinema
Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
The Employee Flexibility Act of 2019 is supported by the Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage (P4ESC), American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Rental Association, American Staffing Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., Associated General Contractors of America, Auto Care Association, The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, Food Marketing Institute, HR Policy Association, International Franchise Association, National Association of Health Underwriters, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Society of American Florists, and the Society for Human Resource Management.
“On behalf of Ben’s Soft Pretzels, a mission-driven organization with 76 bakeries in 10 states, we thank Senator Todd Young and Representatives Jackie Walorski and Dan Lipinski for introducing the ‘Employee Flexibility Act.’ Our employees and the communities we serve are our greatest asset and we support federal legislation to expand both scheduling flexibility and opportunities for growth. We strongly support commonsense, bipartisan legislation to enact a 40-hour per week threshold to determine a full-time employee.” Brian Krider, Co-Founder and COO, Ben’s Soft Pretzels, LLC
“On behalf of Chinsky Restaurant Group, Inc., a franchisee organization that operates 18 Penn Station East Coast Subs in the Indianapolis region, we thank Senator Todd Young for his leadership to help employees and businesses with the Employee Flexibility Act. Restaurants and small businesses in Indiana appreciate Senator Young’s efforts to change the 30 hours per week definition of a “full-time” employee under the Affordable Care Act to a commonsense, operationally-efficient 40 hours per week. With this legislation, employees will have more control over their own schedules and greater opportunity to access shifts. We appreciate Senator Young and his bipartisan legislation to address this important issue.” Rob Chinsky, Owner, Chinsky Restaurant Group and Penn Station East Coast Subs Franchisee
“Since 1954, LaRosa’s Pizzerias have served communities and grown throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Our 65-restaurant organization flourishes with our employees, who value the advancement opportunities and flexibility the restaurant industry provides. We at LaRosa’s support the bipartisan Employee Flexibility Act to help individuals better manage their own work schedules and improve access to variable shifts. Thank you to Congresswoman Jackie Walorksi and Senator Todd Young for their commitment to Indiana restaurants and employees.” Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP, VP of Human Resources, LaRosa’s, Inc.
Click here to view the bill text.