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National Restaurant Association - House passes bill to change full-time definition

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House passes bill to change full-time definition

Just two days into its new session, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to change the health care law’s definition of “full time” from 30 hours to 40 hours a week.

It’s the third time in less than a year that the Save American Workers Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) has passed the House. Now, the focus shifts to the Senate, where the bipartisan Forty Hours is Full Time Act was introduced Tuesday by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), LIsa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)..

Changing the health care law’s full-time definition has been a leading advocacy priority for the National Restaurant Association since the law was passed in 2010. The NRA is concerned a 30-hour definition of full-time would lead to more rigid scheduling practices in the industry at the expense of the flexibility that attracts millions of employees to work in the industry. Under the health care law, businesses with 100 or more full-time-equivalent employees—generally defined as those who average at least 30 hours per week—are required to offer health care benefits to those employees and their dependents or face penalties in 2015. The requirement will expand next year to include businesses with 50 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees.

“We have long supported this bipartisan effort to set the definition of full-time under the ACA to 40-hours per week, reflecting more traditional workforce patterns — an issue critical to our industry,” said NRA CEO Dawn Sweeney. “Now that the House has done its part, we thank Sens. Collins and Donnelly for introducing the 40 Hours is Full Time Act and urge the Senate to come together and move this critical legislation forward for the good of restaurants and the business community at large.” 

Sweeney and NRA Chairman Jack Crawford, along with NRA advocacy staff, met with several members of the House and Senate in the days leading up to the House vote to build support for the legislation. Crawford spoke at a press conference alongside Collins and Donnelly in support of the Senate bill.

As a leader of the More Time for Full Time initiative, the NRA joined more than 300 other organizations in sending letters to the House and Senate in support of changing the full time definition. Young cited the letter during debate on the bill.

Passing the bill in the Senate is expected to be more challenging, as 60 votes are required to bring it to a vote. The NRA and More Time for Full Time initiative urge restaurateurs to write to their senators and ask them to support the bill. Write to your senators today.

The NRA also asks restaurant operators to share their stories of how the health care law’s full-time definition is affecting their business on the More Time for Full Time initiative’s Facebook page.

Pictured: NRA Chairman Jack Crawford (center), with Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), speaks at a press conference urging Senate passage of the Forty Hours is Full Time Act.

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