Coalition Endorses Bipartisan Legislation to Help Employees & Employers

Employee Flexibility Act of 2019 Raises Work-Week Threshold

WASHINGTON, DC (MAY 16, 2019): Today, the Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage (P4ESC) issued its endorsement of bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Employee Flexibility Act of 2019 (H.R. 2782, S. 1510), to address the full-time definition threshold established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation was introduced by Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).

“The Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage commends Representatives Walorski, Lipinski, Kelly and Peterson, and Senators Young, Manchin, Barrasso and Sinema for reintroducing the bipartisan Employee Flexibility Act of 2019 to provide hardworking Americans with more flexibility at their workplace and provide employers with a consistent federal work-week standard,” said Christine Pollack, Executive Director of the Partnership for Employer Sponsored Coverage. “P4ESC calls on Congress to help the millions of employees working in variable hour and part-time employment by providing them with the flexibility to pick-up and trade shifts with their colleagues and not be subject to the arbitrary threshold under the ACA,” Pollack continued.

The ACA established a full-time threshold of 30 hour per week for when an employer must make an offer of health coverage to an employee. The threshold was based on a delineation of eligibility between the law’s expanded Medicaid coverage rolls and employment-based coverage, not on workforce policy standards. Traditional workforce policy has been based on the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) 40-hour work week threshold for overtime pay. The Employee Flexibility Act of 2019 aligns the federal health coverage definition with the FLSA overtime definition.

The Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage is an advocacy alliance committed to ensuring that employment-based coverage is strengthened and remains a viable, affordable option for decades to come. P4ESC membership includes:

Aaron Frazier, Director of Healthcare Policy, National Restaurant Association:

“We thank Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Congressman Dan Lipinski, and Senators Todd Young and Joe Manchin for the bipartisan Employee Flexibility Act, which improves an employee’s ability to manage their own schedule and protects the 40-hour work week. In the restaurant industry, our employees are our greatest asset and we strongly support federal legislation that would provide them with more flexibility and opportunity. The Employee Flexibility Act changes the definition of a full-time employee to 40 hours per week, putting it back in line with the widely used traditional definition. This helps employees with variable schedules and relieves small businesses of significant regulatory burdens.”

Matt Haller, Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Public Affairs, International Franchise Association:

“A 40-hour workweek makes sense for both employers and their employees. This bipartisan bill can help businesses plan, grow, and invest in the American workforce, as well as provide employees with more stable employment and more money in their pocketbooks. We applaud Representatives Walorski and Lipinski and Senators Young and Manchin for collaborating on it again this Congress.”

Blake Adami, Vice President, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors:

“The Employee Flexibility Act will provide much-needed relief to the hardworking employees who have faced reduced hours and fewer jobs. By changing the threshold back to 40 hours, this bipartisan bill will give employers the certainty they need to create jobs and will provide greater opportunity for millions of Americans.”

Neil Trautwein, Vice President for Health Care Policy, National Retail Federation:

“What retailers most hate about the ACA 30-hour rule for eligibility is its sheer arbitrariness. It doesn’t relate to anything else in the benefits world. It also steals hours of work from hard working retail employees. The 30-hour bar for eligibility should be simply eliminated.”

Jennifer Safavian, Executive Vice President, Retail Industry Leaders Association:

“Retailers have voluntarily offered affordable health coverage to their employees and families for decades and want to continue doing so. It is vital to offer competitive health benefits to attract and retain the best workforce possible. The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) definition of a full-time employee at 30 hours per week does not reflect businesses’ needs and more importantly, does not reflect employees’ desire for flexible hours. This legislation helps retailers provide their employees with more hours and increasing hours means increasing take-home pay. It will also help employers offer more substantial health coverage to full-time employees without making premiums prohibitive. Reinstating the 40-hour threshold would be better for American workers.”

Kristen Swearingen, Vice President of Legislative & Political Affairs, Associated Builders and Contractors:

“The current 30-hour rule is another government-prescribed mandate that fails to lower health insurance premiums for hard-working Americans and strips employers of flexibility in structuring workforce options that meet the needs of their employees. ABC supports restoring the 40-hour threshold to provide flexibility to construction industry employers and workers alike.”

Chip Rogers, President and CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association:

“The hotel industry is a major economic driver, supporting 8 million jobs and providing opportunities for lifelong careers, upward mobility, and workplace flexibility. A 40 hour-work week is a crucial adjustment providing a more workable solution for both hoteliers and our associates. The ACA’s arbitrary 30-hour definition severely restricts the scheduling flexibility so valuable to our industry’s workforce, while also impacting the ability of hotels to serve their guests. The Employee Flexibility Act would change the definition of full-time to 40 hours, more accurately reflecting current employment practices and allowing the hotel industry to continue as a driver of economic growth. The American Hotel & Lodging Association has long advocated for this change, and we thank Representatives Walorski and Lipinski and Senators Young and Manchin for introducing the bill. We urge Congress to pass this legislation.”

Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO, Associated General Contractors:

“Replacing the definition of a full-time employee to the more commonly accepted 40 hours per week will, at the very least, reduce some of the complexity associated with the ACA. The construction industry often employs a variable-hour workforce and AGC appreciates the bipartisan legislation to enable employees greater work options and for employers to provide greater hours worked to employees.”

Janet Trautwein, CEO, National Association of Health Underwriters:

“Both large and small employers are finding it difficult to comply with this change to the traditional definition of a full-time employee and the extensive tracking of employee hours it requires. We support this legislation because it will help employers create jobs and offer more full-time positions for working Americans.”