US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Alexander to HHS Secretary Sebelius: Obamacare’s 30-Hour Workweek is a “Disincentive for Full-time, 40-Hour Employment”

Says law’s definition of full-time work as 30 hours or more a week “sounds more like France than the United States”

Thursday, April 25, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

Washington, D.C., April 25 – At a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the health care law’s definition of a full-time workweek at 30 hours or more was “providing a disincentive for full-time employment.”

Alexander asked Secretary Sebelius, “Where did the definition that a full-time worker is someone who works 30 hours or more a week come from? I can’t find it in the Fair Labor Standards Act—it sounds more like France than the United States. …In the United States, normally we think of a full-time workweek as a 40-hour workweek. Don’t you think that the rule that says if you work less than 30 hours, you could be considered a part-time worker, is in some ways becoming a disincentive for full-time work, as some companies look at the health care law and say, ‘One way we can avoid it is to have more part-time workers’?”

Alexander said that as employers try to avoid the costs of the new health care law, “we have workers across the country going from full-time at 40 hours to part-time at less than 30 hours,” leaving them with “no insurance, no full-time job.”

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