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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 re-engineered staffing models to lower employee hours below the 30-hour threshold to avoid coverage requirements.

Outlook: It is likely that proposals to modify the ACA definition of “full-time employee” to one who averages 40 hours of service a week for the purposes of the health care coverage requirement will be introduced in the 115th Congress. Furthermore, if efforts to repeal the ACA are successful, it is likely that a provision to amend the ACA’s definition of “full-time” will be included in a replacement health care plan. 

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