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As expected, the House of Representatives approved legislation on Thursday that would change the definition of “full-time employee” under the Affordable Care Act. Under the healthcare law’s employer responsibility requirements, an employer with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees will be required to provide health insurance that meets certain ACA standards to their full-time employees starting in 2015, or pay a penalty. The ACA considers a worker “full time” if he or she works 30 hours or more per week, instead of the customary 40 per week. The Save American Workers Act (H.R. 2575) would specifically define “full-time employee” as an employee, “with respect to any month . . . who is employed on average at least 40 hours of service per week.’’ The measure was approved by a vote of 248-179, with 18 Democratic lawmakers joining all Republicans in support of the bill.
A similar measure – the Forty Hours is Full Time Act of 2013 – was introduced in the Senate last year, but has yet to advance. Action on either the Save American Workers Act or the Forty Hours is Full Time Act in the Senate is unlikely this year, as Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is not likely to bring a bill to the floor that would in any way dismantle the President’s signature legislation. The House vote is symbolic, however, of the growing bipartisan dissatisfaction with some components of the Affordable Care Act.