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National Restaurant Association - NRA reiterates support for change in full-time definition

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NRA reiterates support for change in full-time definition

The National Restaurant Association sent a letter to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) Thursday reiterating the Association’s support for legislation she introduced to change the 2010 health care law’s definition of full-time to 40 hours per week.

Collins is lead co-sponsor of the bipartisan “Forty Hours is Full-time Act” (S. 701), along with Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). The bill would erase the health care law’s definition of full-time as 30 hours per week and replace it with the 40 hours per week that is widely accepted by most industries as full-time. Changing the law’s definition of full-time from 30 hours to a length more closely aligned with current business practices is one of the NRA’s top health care advocacy priorities.

Under the health care law, employers who average 50 or more “full-time-equivalent” employees on business days in 2014 will be required to offer health benefits to full-time employees and their dependents in 2015 or face potential penalties.

If the definition of full-time is not changed, employees who work an average of 30 hours per week will be considered “full-time” for purposes of health-care coverage offers starting in 2015. And each employee who averages more than 30 hours of service a week in a month will be considered a “full-time-equivalent” when businesses calculate whether they meet the 50-FTE employee threshold for the employer mandate. (Note: The complex calculation also includes part-timers’ hours; see the NRA’s Health Care Law Primer for more information.)

The 30-hour full-time definition has been of particular concern to the restaurant industry, as it likely will diminish the scheduling flexibility that draws many employees to the industry.

“In the restaurant and foodservice industry, where locations can be open 100 hours or more per week, operators most often use a 40-hour definition,” Scott DeFife, NRA executive vice president, policy and government affairs, wrote in the letter. “Adopting such a definition in this law would also provide employers the flexibility to comply with the law in a way that best fits their workforce and business models.”  

The NRA recently kicked off a grassroots advocacy push to urge Congress to make reasonable changes in the health care law. Visit www.AmericaWorksHere.org/healthcare for more information.

Contact Congress now to ask for reasonable changes to the health care law.

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