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April 1, 2014

Rep. Young’s 40-hour work week bill to see House vote

Save American Workers Act repeals portion of ACA

NEW ALBANY — The U.S. House of Representatives may vote as early as Thursday evening on a bill that would repeal a portion of the Affordable Care Act and set a 40-hour work week designation.

Sponsored by Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., the Save American Workers Act would repeal the ACA’s 30-hour a week definition for full-time employment. The legislation will require employers with more than 50 full-time workers to offer health insurance to their employees.

Opponents of the requirement, such as Young, believe employers will shed jobs or limit hours of workers to keep from paying the added health insurance expense.

Citing a Hoover Institution study, Young said 2.6 million American workers are at risk as a result of the 30-hour threshold.  

“This 30-hour provision needs to be ratcheted upward so that we can restore the 40-hour work week and prevent those workers from losing hours and wages during what is still a lethargic economic recovery,” Young told the News and Tribune on Monday.

Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder testified to the House Ways and Means Committee that the 30-hour requirement caused the institution to limit the number of classes being taught by adjunct professors.

Locally, the Floyd County Commissioners voted last year to limit part-time employees to 28 hours of work a week in order to avoid paying toward their health insurance premiums.

The White House has moved to change or delay portions of the ACA without congressional approval. Repealing the 30-hour threshold has some bipartisan support, at least among Indiana’s congressional delegation.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., has been an advocate for changing the legislation, as he’s worked with Republican senators to sponsor a measure similar to the Save American Workers Act in the Senate.

“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 in February after the House Ways and Means Committee approved the Save American Workers Act. “It should be defined as some who works 40 hours, not 30 hours.”

Donnelly co-sponsored a bill last year with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, titled the Forty Hours is Full-Time Act, which was assigned to a committee.

Young said he’s had informal conversations with Donnelly about the bills, but added that he’s focused on convincing other House members to support the Save American Workers Act.

If the House passes the legislation, Young believes it will pressure the Senate to consider the companion bill.

“That’s presuming [U.S. Senate Majority Leader] Sen. Harry Reid lets it come to the floor,” Young said. “He could decide, as he’s been apt to do in recent years, to serve as [President Barack Obama’s] shadow veto and to take what is otherwise good legislation and deep six it for political purposes.”

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