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Donnelly wants definition of "full time employee" changed in ACA

Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is drumming up support of a bill he says will help part-time workers and their employers.

He worked with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on a bill that defines a full-time employee as one who works 40 hours.

Donnelly says the Affordable Care Act uses 30 hours, and that has caused businesses to cut part-time workers’ hours.

“I think, here in Indiana, we all know that 40 hours is full-time, or that’s what we recognize as full-time. I’m just trying to make the law reflective of that. I think what it can do is put more money in people’s pockets.”

He met with Lafayette School Corporation teachers and administrators Tuesday to discuss the proposed change.

Superintendent Les Huddle says they did reduce the hours for about 200 part-time employees because of the new law.

“They did not lose any health insurance, but, unfortunately, they lost some hours of employment. We’re hoping that this bill goes through, it’s approved, and then we can reevaluate and hopefully get those people back to their hours where they began this year.”

He says while not all of the 200 part-timers would have taken the corporation’s health insurance, LSC had to plan for it. Huddle estimates that would have cost the district another $2.5 million a year.

Donnelly says he’s getting bipartisan support for the change.

“That’s what we’re trying to get at. To say, ‘Look, don’t prevent this from occurring simply because, on one side you don’t want any changes to the health care bill, because you’re trying to protect the health care bill. Or on the other side, you don’t want to try to make it better, because you’re trying to sink the whole bill.’”

He says there are roughly 20 million Americans who work between 30 and 39 hours per week.