Restaurant industry pushes to make 40 hours full time under health care law

Restaurant industry pushes to make 40 hours full time under health care law

The restaurant industry on Tuesday emphasized its support for bipartisan legislation to change the health care law’s definition of full-time from 30 hours to 40 hours.

The National Restaurant Association reiterated its support Tuesday after the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing examining the law’s impact on jobs and opportunities. Since the law—which will require employers who average 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees to provide health care coverage to full-time employees starting in 2015 or face penalties—was passed nearly four years ago, restaurateurs have been concerned that the requirements will come at the expense of scheduling flexibility and full-time opportunities.

The National Restaurant Association supports three current bills that would set a 40-hour full-time definition: The Forty Hours is Full Time Act (S. 1188, H.R. 2988), and the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 2575). Each has drawn support from members of both parties.

“A 30-hour full-time definition is not aligned with current workforce practice and does not reflect the desire of restaurant and foodservice employees for flexible work schedules and increased hours,” said National Restaurant Association CEO Dawn Sweeney. “We are encouraged by the growing bipartisan support from both House and Senate leaders addressing this challenge.”

The NRA is a leader of the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care coalition (E-FLEX), which re-emphasized its support for a 40-hour full-time definition in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Increasing the ACA’s rigid 30-hour-per week definition of full-time status would make it easier for employers to provide more hours to all employees, thereby increasing their take-home pay. Help employers offer more generous health coverage to full-time employees without making employers share of premiums cost prohibitive, and help ensure that lower-income employees have access to more affordable coverage options,” the coalition wrote in its letter.

(Source: National Restaurant Association)