Obamcare Forcing Schools, Local Govt's to Drop Full-Time Workers

Obamcare Forcing Schools, Local Govt's to Drop Full-Time Workers

According to an extensive Fox News report, even major union leaders have written to Democrats saying Obamacare will “destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

Though the Obama administration delayed the implementation of the individual mandate for a year, the law will force “employers with at least 50 full-time workers to cover at least 60% of health-care costs for employees who work 30 hours or more per week.”

Obamacare’s employer mandate applies to schools and state and local government; consequently, school districts, colleges, and universities are making once full-time jobs into part-time jobs, further increasing the record number of part-time jobs being created in this struggling economy. Among those affected are librarians, bus drivers, gym teachers, and cafeteria workers.

As Fox News notes, if school districts and local governments don’t offer affordable health insurance, they could be fined “$2,000 to as much as $3,000 per employee annually.”

About a quarter of state and local governments currently do not provide health care benefits, and they will be most impacted by the looming change in the law. 

According to Fox News, “to stop the wheels from coming off the school bus, school districts are doing the math, and are figuring out that cutting worker hours down to part-time status, or paying the mandate tax, or dropping part-time coverage is less expensive than offering health insurance benefits.”

Furthermore, “cities across the nation are discovering that the extra expense from health reform will trigger layoffs and cutbacks in city services like public works, city jails, government workers in nursing homes, parks and libraries if they don’t push government workers down to part-time status.”

Since 2009, the economy has reportedly created “just 130,000 full-time positions so far in 2013, versus 557,000 part-time jobs,” while a record high of 28.1 million workers are part-time.

Below are the anticipated cuts Fox News was able to document from school districts, colleges and universities, and municipalities. 

School districts:

  • Indiana’s Shelbyville Central School System also is cutting back full-time hours of about 100 teacher aides, bus drivers, coaches and substitute teachers.
  • The Wake County Public School System in North Carolina is considering restricting its 3,300-plus substitutes to working less than 30 hours a week, effective July 1. The school district figured that, if just a third of these subs got employer health insurance, it would cost it about $5.2 million.
  • The Southern Lehigh School District in Pennsylvania voted to cut the hours of 51 part-time secretaries, custodians and cafeteria workers to avoid the health care mandate.
  • In Nebraska, public school districts have been contemplating cutting worker hours to avoid the extra expense of health reform. Attorney Karen Haase who represents roughly 150 school districts in the state, estimates thousands of non-teaching jobs, such as bus drivers, cafeteria cooks, teacher aides, janitors, and administrative workers, may see their hours cut, layoffs and hiring freezes.
  • Between 1,000 and 1,200 of teacher aides, substitute teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and security officers and other workers in the Granite School District outside Salt Lake City, Utah, will see their part-time hours reduced due to the costs of health reform. 
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell recently said he would limit state part-time employees to a 29-hour maximum work schedule to save the state $61 million to $110 million per year. That includes schools.
  • Virginia’s Chesterfield County Public Schools and the Chesterfield County government have set 28 hours as the maximum work week for school and other government workers who are not full-time. A school district memo says “this legislation has the potential for serious financial implications for the school division.” 

Colleges and universities: 

  • Youngstown State University in eastern Ohio will limit the hours of non-union part-time employees like these professors to 29 hours a week or less to make sure that the university is not required to provide them with health insurance coverage under the new law.
  • Part-time professors at Piedmont Virginia Community College and other community colleges in the state could see their hours cut because of Virginia’s response to the new federal health reform law, officials said. 
  • Some 200 adjunct faculty members at Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania will see their hours cut so the school can avoid paying for their health insurance coverage. 

Municipal Workers:

  • Officials in Floyd County, Ind., recently announced plans to drop the hours of part-time government workers to below 30 hours a week from 34 because of health-reform mandates. 
  • Butler County outside Wichita, Kansas, now classifies part-time municipal workers as those who work fewer than 30 hours a week.
  • Long Beach, Calif., is restricting most of its 1,600 part-time employees to on average fewer than 27 hours a week. City executives warn that without the move, their budget would soar $2 million due to higher health benefit costs. The city calculated that the federal penalty for dropping coverage completely for its 4,100 full-time employees would have been about $8 million, so instead, it’s opting to cut the hours.
  • The city of Plano, Texas, says it will cut the hours of up to 70 employees who work 30 hours, but currently don’t get health insurance. Offering coverage would have cost about $1 million.
  • Dearborn, Michigan, is cutting the number of hours for its part-time and seasonal employees to no more than an average of 28 hours per week. 
  • City officials in Cedar Falls, Iowa, also say they’re being proactive by cutting hours of part-time workers starting Dec. 1. That means 59 part-time employees who now work 32 hours a week in public works public libraries and the parks department, will be scheduled for 29 hours per week starting Dec. 1.


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