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Jaime Herrera Beutler Votes to Protect American Workers from Slashed Work Hours and Hiring Freezes

Legislation repeals 30 hour full-time definition in the Affordable Care Act and restores full-time to 40 hours per week

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Washington, DC, January 8, 2015 | comments
Today, Jaime Herrera Beutler joined the U.S. House of Representatives in taking action to reduce burdens on small businesses and their employees by passing the bipartisan Save American Workers Act.
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Today, Jaime Herrera Beutler joined the U.S. House of Representatives in taking action to reduce burdens on small businesses and their employees by passing the bipartisan Save American Workers Act. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) took an unprecedented step by defining a “full time” employee as an individual who works 30 hours or more per week.  Employers were incentivized by the ACA to reduce working hours for their employees in order to avoid being subjected to the law's costly mandates.

The bill passed today repeals the ACA’s definition and restores the traditional 40 hour work week. This change protects hourly employees from hour and wage cuts by reducing the new burdensome costs and regulations employers face under the ACA employer mandate. 

The harmful impacts of the ACA employer mandate have been widely recognized by employers and employees and in 2014, resulted in the Obama Administration delaying implementation for a second time. However, the delay was only a temporary action to protect vulnerable employees and small businesses from the consequences of this expensive law.

A study conducted by Stanford University found that at least 2.6 million American workers are impacted by the 30 hour full-time rule and are at risk of having their hours reduced. The majority of affected workers are low to middle income and work in the retail and restaurant services industries. 

“Defining full-time as 30 hours per week hurts families and individuals in Southwest Washington who will have their hours reduced or capped,” said Jaime. “In addition, employers may not be able to hire more employees and in some cases, the 30-hour rule may also mean lost jobs. At a time when there is still high unemployment in our region, Congress should be doing what we can to increase workers' ability to earn money- not creating more challenges for them to overcome.”

"Too many small businesses in Southwest Washington, and the families they support, are still struggling to make their way out of this long recession.  The Affordable Care Act now defines 'full-time' as 30 hours per week, requiring many more employers to take scarce dollars that would go to wage increases or hiring another worker, and divert them to government-mandated health plans that cost too much and cover too little," said Patrick Connor, Washington State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business.  "Small business owners greatly appreciate Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler's work to help pass H.R. 30, restoring the traditional 40 hour work week, and giving back control to small business owners and their employees to determine the work and pay schedule that best meets their needs."

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