Walorski, Lipinski, Kelly, Peterson Introduce Employee Flexibility Act

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Walorski, Lipinski, Kelly, Peterson Introduce Employee Flexibility Act

Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill Would Restore Traditional 40-Hour Definition of Full-Time Employment Under Obamacare

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) today introduced the Employee Flexibility Act (H.R. 2782), bipartisan legislation would provide relief to middle-income families by restoring the traditional 40-hour work week under the Affordable Care Act. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

“The redefinition of full-time employment under Obamacare is hurting workers who want to earn more money by picking up extra hours or trading shifts, and it’s placing unnecessary burdens on our Main Street job creators,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The Employee Flexibility Act will bring relief to hardworking Hoosiers by ensuring they have flexibility in the hours they work each week. This bipartisan, commonsense bill will also give businesses the certainty they need to expand, invest in our communities, and create more jobs.”

“Most Americans will tell you that a full-time workweek is 40 hours, not 30,” Congressman Lipinski said. “Changing the law to keep middle class families from having to make the painful choice of being forced to live with less or finding another part-time job to make up the difference is just common sense. Thanks to Congresswoman Walorski and my colleagues for their leadership on this bipartisan bill.”

“Obamacare created a lot of problems for American workers, including its definition of full-time employment at 29 and a half hours,” Congressman Kelly said. “Employers are required to provide health insurance to employees who qualify as full time, so many workers employed by small businesses are having trouble picking up extra hours to make ends meet. The Employee Flexibility Act, of which I am a proud co-author, would restore the 40-hour work week to help workers and ease the burden on businesses!”

“This legislation restores the traditional definition of a full time job and would benefit employers who seek to have both full and part time employees,” Congressman Peterson said.

“We thank our own Congresswoman Jackie Walorski for her leadership on reestablishing the 40-hour workweek to help hard-working Hoosiers and Indiana small business community,” said Mark McDonnell, founder and CEO of LaSalle Hospitality Group. “Countless employees love restaurants because they offer flexible, part-time work. These employees may also be going to school, raising a family, or pursuing other aspirations. But current laws restrict a variable workforce and inhabit an employee’s ability to manage their own schedule. Additionally, most accounting systems weren’t designed to accommodate the two different full-time designations businesses must operate under. This makes administration a nightmare and the added costs affect restaurants’ hiring and expansion plans. We appreciate Rep. Walorski’s efforts to introduce and advance the bipartisan Employee Flexibility Act.”

“On behalf of Ben’s Soft Pretzels, a mission-driven organization with 76 bakeries in 10 states, we thank Representatives Jackie Walorski and Dan Lipinski for introducing the ‘Employee Flexibility Act,’” said Brian Krider, co-founder and COO of Ben’s soft Pretzels. “Our employees and the communities we serve are our greatest asset and we support federal legislation to expand both scheduling flexibility and opportunities for growth. We strongly support commonsense, bipartisan legislation to enact a 40-hour per week threshold to determine a full-time employee.”

BACKGROUND

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, requires employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent workers to offer health insurance to full-time employees or face a penalty. The law defines full-time status as 30 hours of work per week, significantly below the traditional standard of 40 hours, as defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Under the standard 40-hour definition of a work week, hourly employees had more flexibility to pick up hours or trade shifts with their co-workers. Since the implementation of the 30-hour threshold, variable-hour and part-time employees have lost the flexibility to earn more money by adding or trading shifts.

The bipartisan, bicameral Employee Flexibility Act would provide flexibility to employees and relief to small businesses by changing the definition of a full-time employee under the ACA to 40 hours per week, putting it back in line with the widely-used traditional definition. The same legislation previously passed the House in 2014 and 2015.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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