A new bill pitched by Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly aims to bend the rules of the Affordable Care Act for employers in his state.
Under the terms of healthcare reform legislation, employers with 50 or more staff members must offer insurance benefits to all employees who work at least 30 hours each week, which the federal law considers full time. While the mandate was originally intended to go into effect in 2014, President Barack Obama’s administration recently announced it’s delay until 2015.
Donnelly’s bill would redefine full-time employment in Indiana as working 40 hours or more weekly.
School districts across the state have decided to limit the number of that hours part-time employees – like substitute teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria staff – can work to 29 hours or fewer to avoid the costs of extending coverage.
The Lafayette School Corporation is among the school districts that have taken such actions. Local news station WLFI reported that 200 LSC employees work between 30 and 39 hours weekly and offering them coverage would have cost the district $2.5 million.
While the mandate is intended to extend coverage to the uninsured, Donnelly stated it’s simply cutting worker paychecks.
“I think here in Indiana we know that 40 hours is full time,” he said, according to The Journal and Courier. “That’s what we recognize as full time. I’m just trying to make the law reflective of that.”