Affordable Care Act Causes Employers to Cut Back on Part-Time Hours

Rather than benefit from the Affordable Care Act, many part-time employees across the nation are going to be suffering from reductions of hours. Pulaski County Auditor Shelia Garling said her county has cut back on the average number of hours for part-time employees; originally, part-timers were working between 30 and 32 hours per week, but now they’re cut down to 28 hours to prevent the county from being forced to provide them with insurance benefits.

The Affordable Care Act will require businesses with at least 50 employees to offer health insurance to employee working at least 30 hours per week. Those that don’t provide the required coverage will be forced to pay a $2000 penalty per worker, excluding the first 30 employees. The act doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2014, but in order to determine which employees average enough hours to qualify for the benefits, employers will have to go back three to 12 months from Jan. 1, 2014. To counteract that, many employers, including counties, are modifying their salary ordinances early.

Garling said the Affordable Care Act would have a huge impact financially on the county if they did not cut back on hours, as the number of employees that would be added to their insurance plan would cause the cost to skyrocket. Counties, schools, business and other employers across the nation are trimming part-time hours to prevent these additional costs, allowing them to forgo providing their part-timers with insurance.

Unfortunately for the employees, that also means less money per check with no benefits on top of that.

While Starke County has not yet made a decision as to how they’ll handle the ramifications of the Affordable Care Act, the commissioners are slated to discuss the matter at their regular meeting on Monday, June 3 at 9 a.m. The commissioners will discuss what constitutes part-time employment in order to make a recommendation to the county council at their meeting on June 17.

That discussion will likely lead to the approval of a new county policy in preparation of the Jan. 1, 2014 changes.