Foodservice Equipment Reports

Forty-Hour Workweek Bills Introduced In Congress

Congress has adjourned for the next month, but left behind in both houses are bills that seek to establish the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time as 40 hours per week.

The ACA currently establishes that businesses with more than 50 full-time workers must provide health insurance for full-time employees who work either 30 hours a week or 130 hours per month. Many in the foodservice industry have been working to convince policymakers to increase the number of weekly hours worked to 35 or 40 since the ACA was passed in 2010.

The “Forty Hours is Full Time” Act of 2013, or H.R. 2988, introduced by Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., would expand the definition of a full-time employee from the ACA’s current 30-hour-per-week threshold. This newest measure mirrors a similar bill introduced earlier in the Senate this year by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. Like the House bill, the Senate version redefines a full-time employee as one who works 40 hours a week or 174 hours a month based on a 52-week year.

Foodservice industry association officials praised both bills. “We’re pleased to see the bill introduced,” said Rob Green, president of the National Council of Chain Restaurants. “It’s great to see another bipartisan issue in Congress. It reflects a longstanding concern many of us have had about the law that even predates its passage.”

According to Scott DeFife, exec. v.p.-policy and government affairs for the National Restaurant Association, “The current definition at 30 hours is not aligned with current workforce practices and does not reflect the desire of restaurant and foodservice employees for flexible work schedules. Only Congress can address this challenge in implementing the law.”

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