Murkowski: Health Care Law’s Full-Time Definition is “Out of Step,” Risking Work Hour Cuts

Senator Continues to Fight Widespread Negative Impacts of Law, Joins Bipartisan Push to Advance Forty Hours is Full Time Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the health care law’s employer mandate causing cuts to work hours nationwide, Senator Lisa Murkowski and a bipartisan group of Senators is urging the Budget Conference Committee to take up the Forty Hours is Full Time Act (S. 1188) she co-sponsored earlier this year. This bill aims to redefine the use of “full-time” employee in the health care law since the law presently considers that a “full-time employee” works a mere 30 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.

In a letter (attached), Murkowski asserts that effective health care reform “should expand access to coverage, while not inhibiting economic growth.” Later, she expresses concern that “the PPACA definition of full time as an employee working just 30 hours a week is out-of-step with standard employment practices in the U.S. today and will hurt the economy and likely cut hours for current full-time employees.”

The Forty Hours is Full Time Act would change the PPACA’s definition of “full time employee” to 40 hours a week and would make a matching adjustment in the monthly hours used to calculate “full time equivalent” employee. After speaking with many small business owners in Alaska who had to cut hours due to new taxes, Murkowski implored the conference members take up this bill to add this sensible definition to the PPACA.