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Definition of Full-Time

Under the ACA, employers with more than 50 full-time employees are required to provide affordable group health insurance coverage to employees and their dependents or face financial penalties. The ACA defines a full-time employee as an individual who works an average of at least 30 hours per week. This definition is inconsistent with standard employment practices in the United States today, which typically define full-time employment as 40 hours a week or more, and other federal laws. As a result, some employers have opted to eliminate health care coverage for part-time employees to cover the costs of providing coverage to full-time employees, while others have reengineered staffing models to lower employee hours below the 30-hour threshold to avoid coverage requirements.

Outlook: On January 8, 2015, the House of Representatives passed, with bipartisan support, a proposal to modify the ACA definition of “full-time employee” for the purposes of the health care coverage requirement. Similar bipartisan legislation has also been introduced in the Senate. Both proposals would change the definition of a full-time employee to one who averages 40 hours of service a week.
However, further congressional activity is not likely in the current Congress. The chances to turn the Health Care Reform Task Force’s proposal into legislation with any hopes of becoming law will depend on the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections in November. 

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