By Jerry Geisel, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (Sept. 23, 2014) — For the second time this year, the House of Representatives approved legislation to ease the healthcare reform law's definition of a full-time employee.
The House's bill changes the definition to those working an average of at least 40 hours per week, shielding more employers from a stiff financial penalty imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Under the ACA, employers with at least 100 employees are required, effective in 2015, to offer qualified coverage to full-time employees—defined as those working an average of 30 hours per week—or be liable for an annual $2,000 penalty per employee.
Effective in 2016, the same requirement applies to employers with between 50 and 99 employees.
The House provision, included in a broader measure, H.R. 4., introduced by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and approved Sept. 18 by the House on a 253-163 vote, would change the ACA's definition of full-time employees to those working an average of 40 hours per week.
“Returning to the industry standard of 40 hours would benefit employers and employees alike and lessen the burden Obamacare places on businesses and the economy,” Neil Trautwein, vice president of healthcare policy at the National Retail Federation in Washington, said in a statement.
A similar measure, H.R. 2575, was passed earlier by the House, but the Senate has not acted on it.
The White House, which says the proposed change would reduce the number of people receiving employment-based coverage by about 1 million, said President Barack Obama would veto such a proposal if approved by Congress.
This report appeared on the website of Crain's Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.