In order to bypass the requirements of the insurance law, workers are becoming part time employees.
According to local and state officials across the country, public employees are finding their hours cut back and limited to that of part time workers when they had previously been working full time, as their employers are trying to skirt the health care reform requirement to provide them with insurance.
This has been the case in public schools, community colleges, cities, and counties.
The public sector is an area that has yet to experience a rebound following the recession, and now workers in this area are facing further cut backs as their employers respond to the health care reform by trying to eliminate as many full time workers in favor of part timers who don’t need to be offered insurance coverage. Should this trend continue and become as widespread as it appears to be heading, this could prove to be a powerful weapon for Republicans to use against the overhaul of the law. They have been claiming that the changes will create further economical drain and this would look like a certain level of evidence to support that claim.
The employer portion of the health care reform requirement has already been delayed, twice.
When the law does go into place, it will require larger employers to offer health insurance coverage to their employees who work at least thirty hours per week (on average) or they will face tax penalties. However, a large number of public employers have already put regulations, laws, or policies into place in order to keep their workers from breaking that average weekly threshold.
The administration stated that it would be easing the requirements for coverage that larger companies must offer, but public employers have not backed down from their previous plan. They have decided to keep their work hour restrictions in place due to the fact that they would still be required to insure full time workers as of 2015, based on the hours that they worked in 2014.
Among the public sector workers that have found their hours being cut back as a result of the response to the health care reform are prison guards, police dispatchers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school custodians, and part time professors.