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Retail groups urge 40-hour full-time definition in ACA

Several retail groups, including Food Marketing Institute and National Grocers Association, this week renewed their calls for changes in the definition of “full time” for the purposes of the Affordable Care Act.

Their calls came as the House Ways & Means Committee was scheduled to discuss the matter Tuesday. The ACA originally set a 30-hour-per-week threshold for workers to be considered full-time — and therefore offered health insurance — but retailers are pushing for a definition that is “more in line with employment practices,” FMI said in a letter to the committee.


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“The law’s definition of full-time as 30 hours of service per week does not reflect employers’ workforce needs or employees’ desire for flexible hours,” the letter stated.

Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA, noted, "The ACA's definition of a full-time employee at only 30 hours per week will have an enormous impact on the independent grocery industry, which creates over 944,000 direct jobs. It is critical for Congress to work together and pass legislation to amend this section of the ACA before its impact is felt by both employers and employees across the country."

NGA said it supports amending the definition of full-time in the ACA and “continues to urge Congress to pass S. 1188, the Forty Hours is Full-Time Act; H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act; and H.R. 2988, the Forty Hours is Full-Time Act.”

Read more: Bill defines full-time as 40 hours for ACA

National Retail Federation said it supports “common sense” reforms to the healthcare law, including repealing the employer mandate, changing the law’s definition of a full-time employee to 40 hours per week, and increasing the coverage requirement to businesses that employee 100 workers, up from the 50 stipulated in the law.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association also called for a 40-hour definition of full-time workers.

“The ACA’s 30-hour per week definition for full-time status is fundamentally reshaping labor markets and changing the way retailers opera9te and manage their distribution centers,” said Christine Pollack, VP of government affairs, RILA.

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