Murkowski Co-Sponsors “Reality Check” for Health Care Reform

Senator Co-Sponsors Bill to Avoid Millions in Lost Wages and Hours Resulting from “Train Wreck” Reform Bill

WASHINGTON, DC — With over two million Americans potentially facing a cut in work hours as employers attempt to avoid the costly health care mandate, Senator Lisa Murkowski is co-sponsoring the Forty Hours is Full Time Act (S.701) to redefine full-time employee status within the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the conventional 40 hour workweek.  The law presently defines “full-time employee” as thirty hours, which could lead to dramatic decreases in take-home pay for Americans nationwide, especially in crucial Alaskan economic drivers like restaurants, hotels and retail.

“Rising premiums, new taxes, and shorter work weeks – no wonder so many are calling this bill a train wreck.  I talk to many small business owners in Alaska who may have to cut their employees’ hours because of the onslaught of new taxes, regulations and penalties in this health care law” said Murkowski.  “The fact that the health care bill has an unconventional view of ‘full time’ means employers have to take hours below that level or face real penalties. The Forty Hours is Full Time Act is a much-needed reality check for this law.”

(What industries face the worst possible hour cuts – CLICK IMAGE FOR SOURCE)

Under the ACA, beginning January 1st 2014, businesses with more than 50 full-time employees must provide health benefits or face penalties beginning at $40,000, plus $2,000 for each additional “full time equivalent” employee working 30 hours. In order to adjust to the requirement, businesses across the country have cut hours to avoid reaching that 30 hour trigger. As a result, thousands of employees may have their hours reduced.

According to a study by the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkley, on businesses with 100 or more employees, 6.4 million Americans work between 30 and 36 hours per week, and another 3.6 million work flexible schedules ­– all susceptible to reduced hours. S.701, introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-MA), attempts to reduce the incentive for business to cut hours and damage an already struggling economy.