Government Employers Also Slash Workers' Hours To Escape Obamacare Costs


Mad Obamacare policymaker

We know that evil, horrible private businesses are cutting workers' hours to bring them under the 30-hour full-time cut-off that invokes the Affordable Care Act's mandate that employers offer health insurance or pay a fine. But the Washington Post offers evidence that government employers are doing the same. In fact, government agencies may be among the main hour slashers. "[T]he numbers are higher for the retail and hospitality industries, as well as for government, because those employers often rely on a large number of part-timers but do not already offer them benefits…"

Writes Sandhya Somashekhar at the Washington Post:

For Kevin Pace, the president's health-care law could have meant better health insurance. Instead, it produced a pay cut.

Like many of his colleagues, the adjunct music professor at Northern Virginia Community College had managed to assemble a hefty courseload, despite his official status as a part-time employee. But his employer, the state, slashed his hours this spring to avoid a Jan. 1 requirement that all full-time workers be offered health insurance. The law defines "full time" as 30 hours a week or more.

Why would the state of Virginia slash employee hours?

Virginia's situation provides a good lens on why. The state has more than 37,000 part-time, hourly wage employees, with as many as 10,000 working more than 30 hours a week. Offering coverage to those workers, who include nurses, park rangers and adjunct professors, would have been prohibitively expensive, state officials said, costing as much as $110 million.

It's not just nasty Republican-leaning jurisdictions that are frantic to escape new costs.

The state of Maryland and the District already offer health insurance to workers who log 20 or more hours a week. But some Democratic-leaning communities, including Dearborn, Mich., and Long Beach, Calif., have imposed caps on part-time workers to keep them below the 30-hour threshold.

Not surprisingly, a new poll finds that even moderate Democrats have lost faith in Obamacare. Just 46 percent now support the law, down 11 points in a year.

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  1. That’s racism, straight up.

  2. Gee, nobody ever could have possibly seen this coming.

    Oh wait, I think everyone saw this coming 4 years ago.

    1. A regular at the bar I frequent was fired two weeks ago, but fortunately found a new job last week. We were talking about his new job, and he was lamenting that it wasn’t full time. He will work only 30 hours a week. I explained to him why, because of Obamacare, he will only get part time work from here out. I could see the gears turning in his head, as he realized the nudnik he voted for has turned around and bit him in the ass. Another dude at the bar just turned around and left the conversation, overwhelmed by the cognitive dissonance.

      1. Another dude at the bar just turned around and left the conversation, overwhelmed by the cognitive dissonance.

        If the alcohol doesn’t help, I recommend he be treated to a heroic dose of mushrooms.

        1. And, when all else fails, hookers ampersand blow will cure it.

          1. The ampersands are back! Hadn’t you heard?


            1. It’s a euphamism for something awesome that only hookers on blow will/can do.

              1. Well ampersands aren’t cheap, you know.

          2. What is it with hookers and blow? Hookers are generally gross and blow makes you jittery and irritable. Doesn’t sound like a party to me.

    2. “Oh wait, I think everyone saw this coming 4 years ago.”

      Pauline Kael, much?

      (I know, I know… the actual quote is different.)

      1. I don’t know who that is.

        1. This should give you an idea of the thing I reference.

      2. Heh. Sometimes the narrative is more important than mere, vulgar facts.

  3. All is going according to plan. Soon shriek can swing by and complain about underemployment being an AM radio plot.

    1. Then he’ll go into how inflation fears are overrated and gold will eventually go back to $600/oz.

  4. Good. Too bad it will probably only effect state employees, since unlike the federal goons, states actually have to stick to a budget.

    1. Thank God for Stein’s Law.

  5. Foreseeable consequences arent unintended.

    1. What are politically blind people, chopped liver?

    2. No, because some things aren’t foreseeable by those blinded by ideology.

      A Facebook friend, a semi-famous author, was recently railing against the Koch-funded “slandering” of Obamacare, which is actually wonderful, once everything gets rolling. I expect that by next year he’ll be sputtering like Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House. “Remain calm! All is well!”

      1. “Thanks you, sir! May I have another?!”

  6. Was talking to my pops last week (he is a community college admin) about what they are doing. They put in a request to HHS and the IRS in February to get adjunct clarification on work hours. The old rule of thumb was 2 hours outside for every hour inside the classroom (he’ll be the first to tell you this is not necesarily the average, but it is probably a fair description of the work), so they added an hour to be sure that nobody could say they were “cheating” anyone of time spent. The final solution was everyone carrying 7 course-hours a semester or less is part-time for the purpose of Obamacare. I believe his institution’s guidance to their adjuncts was not to turn down a full-time job that paid less than what the adjunct earned in the spring of 2013, because there weren’t going to be a lot of people carrying 8 or 9 (or 12) hour courseloads as adjuncts in 2014.

    Marginal cost is a motherfucker.

    1. Oh, meant to say, neither HHS nor IRS responded, so the instution put the 4 total work hour per instructional hour rule in place locally.

    2. We decided pretty much the same thing, except for our adjuncts the max is 8 credits. Most of them teach 3 credit courses so it doesn’t matter whether it’s 7 or 8. The main exception is applied music (instrument lessons) which are taught by adjuncts but paid differently (they get a fixed per student rate, so how many students = 30 hours/week? nobody knows). The various flavors of student workers and graduate assistants we have are proving less straightforward, mainly because HR has their own method of assigning FTE, which is based on the amount of the stipend rather than number of hours. It’s complicated.

      1. The official IRS position on the issue is “do your best to figure it out yourself until we get around to writing rules.”

  7. Actually, now that I think about it, I have recently been encountering alot of otherwise competent people who have been fired from their jobs. I’m starting to think that they are victims of Obamacare. I’m also thinking that they voted for the douchebag.

    1. if they were truly competent, Obamacare had nothing to do with their terminations. They were threatening to the incompetent.

  8. So something good came out of it after all.

  9. At the technical college where my wife works, they just come right out and say it — we’re cutting your hours/not offering you more hours because of Obamacare’s costs.

  10. I have clients calling me since January for advice about how soon they should cut part timers below 30 hours per week, and how the reductions should be implemented. Public as well as private sector.

    I agree: who could possibly have seen this coming?

    And you full-timers: wait until 2018, when your employers start offering you worse and worse health insurance to avoid the 40% excise tax on “Cadillac” (read: any halfway decent) insurance plans. .

  11. CUTTING HOURS TO 30 WILL NOT WORK! Why isn’t anyone calling bullshit on this? A company CAN NOT hire 500 30hr/week employees and avoid the ramifications of the ACA! If a company exceeds the number of man hours worked in a year by 50 people working 40 hr/week (104,000) then they are going to be considered over the 50 full time worker limit. Reason please get this fact out!

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