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Congress making progress on bill to amend ACA definition of full-time employees

January 15, 2015

Effective in 2015, the Affordable Care Act requires employers with at least 100 employees to offer qualified coverage to full-time employees, currently defined as those working an average of 30 hours per week. If coverage is not offered the employer faces a penalty of $2,000 penalty per employee. In 2016, the mandate to offer applies to companies with more than 50 FTE.

Legislation, called the Save American Workers Act, is moving in the nation’s capital to amend the Affordable Care Act and return the definition of a full-time employee to 40 hours a week from its current 30 hours a week. The legislation passed the House of Representatives on Jan. 9 by a bipartisan vote of 252-172. The measure was then introduced in the Senate last week by Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, and has already gained the support of 32 senators, including two Democrats.

SBAM will keep its eye on this legislation as it moves through the Senate.

President Obama has threatened to veto the measure, claiming that employers would reduce employees hours in order to avoid the health insurance mandate. The Senate needs 67 votes and the House needs 290 votes to override this veto, so gaining the favor of a handful of Senate Democrats this early in the debate is a good sign.

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