The National Restaurant Association said recently introduced legislation by Congressman Todd Young of the House Ways and Means Committee would make a much-needed change to the 2010 health care law.

H.R. 2575 would set the definition of a full-time employee for purposes of the health care law at 40 hours, reflecting the traditional workforce patterns within the restaurant and foodservice industry’s workforce. The Association said this proposal would allow employees to maintain the flexible work schedules they value in working in the industry. 

“We appreciate the leadership of Congressmen Todd Young, Pete Olson, Mike Kelly, Tim Walberg and Erik Paulsen for their attention to a critical issue for our industry,” said Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, National Restaurant Association. “The health care law should more accurately reflect traditional workforce practices in the industry, so as to not force structural business model changes unrelated to health care coverage. A definition change would benefit employees and operators by making it easier to manage the workforce in a flexible manner.”

The definition of full-time employee is of particular importance to restaurants because of the industry’s unique reliance on large numbers of part-time and seasonal workers with fluctuating and unpredictable works hours, as well as unpredictable lengths of service.

Since enactment of the law, the National Restaurant Association has worked to constructively shape the implementing regulations of the health care law. Nevertheless, there are limits to what can be achieved through the regulatory process alone, DeFife added.