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House Approves Bill to Change ACA Full-Time Employee Definition

Capitol Connector
Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

House Approves Bill to Change ACA Full-Time Employee Definition

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Last Thursday, the House voted 252-172 to approve legislation (H.R. 30) that would change the definition of full-time employees under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate from those who work 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week. All Republican members and a dozen Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

Currently, the employer mandate requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees working 30 hours or more per week to provide affordable health coverage to workers or face fines. Republicans said the current statute gives employers an incentive to cut workers’ hours to avoid paying fines as a result of the health law. But Democrats argued that increasing the ACA’s definition of a full-time workweek would result in more employees being forced to work more hours and still not be eligible for insurance. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration where Republicans need six Democrats to join them to overcome a filibuster. The White House has vowed to veto the bill.

This is the first in what could be a series of legislative moves to alter and replace the Affordable Care Act in the 114th Congress. According to Senator Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, various groups have begun discussing options to replace the ACA. GOP leaders have yet to coalesce around a single plan, but are reportedly drawing on ideas they’ve discussed for years such as tax credits to buy insurance, high risk pools and allowing insurance to be sold across state lines.

Stay tuned to Capitol Connector for more news on the health reform law.