The National Restaurant Association has reiterated its support for efforts to establish the health care law’s definition of full-time employment at 40 hours per week. The House Ways and Means Committee is examining the impact of the law’s employer mandate in a hearing today. 

The law sets full-time status at 30 hours per week. Employers who average 50 or more “full-time-equivalent” employees will be required to offer health benefits to full-time employees and their dependents in 2015 or face potential penalties – costly outcomes that could limit growth opportunities for businesses and employees.

The arbitrary 30-hour full-time definition has been of particular concern to the restaurant industry, as it likely will diminish the scheduling flexibility that draws many employees to the industry and place an artificial cap on employee hours.

“A 30-hour full-time definition is not aligned with current workforce practices and does not reflect the desire of restaurant and foodservice employees for flexible work schedules and increased hours,” said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association. “We appreciate Chairman Camp’s attention to this issue and are encouraged by the growing bipartisan support from both House and Senate leaders in addressing this challenge.”

The National Restaurant Association supports the following bipartisan bills that would set a 40-hour full-time definition: S. 1188 (Collins-Donnelly, Forty Hours is Full Time Act), H.R. 2575 (Todd Young, Save American Workers Act) and H.R. 2988 (Lipinski, Forty Hours is Full Time Act).

The NRA is a leader of the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care Coalition (E-FLEX), a group of trade associations and businesses in the restaurant, retail, hospitality, supermarket, construction, temporary staffing and other service-related industries working together for more flexibility for employers as the health care law is implemented. The coalition’s letter to Ways and Means leaders calling for the Committee’s consideration of the bipartisan bills is here.