Eighteen Democrats joined with Republicans in a 248-179 vote to eliminate an ObamaCare provision which would have defined a 30-hour workweek as full-time employment.
The GOP’s concern was that the limitation would cause employers to reduce some employee’s hours to below 29 so as to avoid being forced to provide them coverage under ObamaCare. Seven Democrats co-sponsored the Save American Workers Act, or H.R. 2575.
Per a report in The Hill, the debate lasted over two days.
The bill would eliminate language in ObamaCare that defines a full-time employee as anyone working 30 or more hours a week, and insert a 40-hour requirement. Republicans say that language creates an incentive for companies to reduce people’s hours to 29 or less, since that move would reduce the number of full-time employees on staff.
Industry groups backed Republicans who see the Democrat’s push to raise the minimum wage as an attempt to hide the wage reducing aspect of Obamacare’s impact on what constitutes a full-time workweek. “This administration believes that they can hide the reality of the wage cuts with an increase in the minimum wage,” said Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), adding “But that proposal, which the nonpartisan experts say will result in 500,000 lost jobs, is not the answer.”
In a letter sent to members of Congress Wednesday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) said many companies offer health benefits at varying levels of hourly work, even when those hours are less than 40. The letter said that flexibility is working for both companies and employees.
“The ACA’s definition of full-time at 30 hours a week does not reflect businesses’ needs and more importantly, does not reflect employees’ desire for flexible hours,” the group wrote. “Retailers want to give their employees more hours and Congress needs to make it easier for employers to do that by passing H.R. 2575.”