When the Affordable Care Act first became law, stories hit the news of employers cutting hours to reduce their responsibility for healthcare. There was so much talk of it, that Congress actually considered amending the law to make the threshold for full-time work 40 hours instead of 30, but didn’t. Can employers really do this, and is it legal?
Although the share of part-time workers did increase during the recession, it was due to the economic slow down, not the ACA. Recent trends show the percentage of part-time workers decreasing as the economy recovers, not increasing as you would expect if the ACA was driving hiring practices.
As far as employers demoting workers just so they don’t have to provide healthcare coverage, it’s just not that easy. The ACA looks at employment from a number of ways to determine part-time or full-time status, not just your last paycheck. They consider:
- Look-back period. The ACA utilizes a look back period of 12 to 3 months to determine employment status.
- Administrative period. Employers have 90 days to notify employees of their status.
- Stability period. Once an employee is classified as full time or part time, that status will apply for the next 6 months to a year, regardless of hours worked.
Employers can face penalties for misclassifying employees, and for moving employees from full- to part-time without a business reason to do so.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
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