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Paul Zimmerman
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House Passes Bill to Protect 40-Hour Work Week

On Thursday, January 8, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that will change the health care law’s definition of full-time from 30 to 40 hours per week. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), large employers are required to provide health insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours a week, or pay a fine. The “Save the American Workers Act” passed by a vote of 252 to 172, with 12 Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) joined more than 300 other organizations in sending letters to legislators in hopes of officially changing the definition.

This is the first in what are likely many more attempts to strike portions of the ACA by the new Republican-controlled Congress. Republican supporters have stated that the bill protects the 40-hour work week, and provides a disincentive for employers to cut workers’ hours if they don’t want to provide health insurance. Opposing Democrats say that increasing the “full-time” work week gives employers a legal excuse to not cover employers who work more than 30, but fewer than 40 hours.

Passing the bill in the Senate is expected to prove to be more difficult, as 60 votes will be needed. And while supporters are urging the president to reconsider his veto power, that seems unlikely. 

This article is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.