U.S. House Passes ‘Save American Workers Act’

Posted January 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Detailed update on current and pending ACA mandates for businesses included

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 30) that would redefine the threshold for full-time employment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from 30 to 40 hours per week. The bill, passed 252-172, is the first major step by the new Republican-controlled Congress to repeal or change provisions of the ACA. TRSA was an active supporter of the legislation and sent a letter urging support.

Twelve Democrats joined all House Republicans in the Jan. 8 vote in favor of the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 30). Sponsors of the bill included Reps. Todd Young (R-IN) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), along with Reps. Pete Olson (R-TX), Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Tim Walberg (R-MI).

The Senate version of the bill (S. 30) was introduced last week by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

There’s no timetable for Senate action, although Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has said he intends to examine the impact of the 30-hour provision during the first HELP Committee hearing of the new session. A previous version of the bill passed the House last year, but didn't advance in the Senate.

Senators said they hope the result will be different this year. This additional time for discussion in the Senate will give the business community a better chance at convincing enough Democrats to support cloture so that lawmakers can vote on the measure once it gets to the floor.

The legislation protects the traditional 40-hour work week. The ACA requires organizations with 50 or more full-time employees to provide healthcare coverage. The requirement went into effect in 2015 for employers of 100 or more workers and is delayed until 2016 for employers of 50 or more. A tax penalty—the so-called employer mandate—would be imposed for noncompliance. Click here for a detailed analysis of current and pending ACA requirements and penalties for employers.