Letter on H.R. 2575, the "Save American Workers Act"

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 8:00pm

The Honorable Todd Young
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Young:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, thanks you for introducing H.R. 2575, the “Save American Workers Act,” which would redefine “full-time employment” in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to be consistent with the traditional 40-hour work week. This legislation is a critical step in helping protect employees and employers against what would amount to a significant redefinition of workforce status.

Under the employer mandate provision of the PPACA, businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) are required to provide health care coverage (that is deemed both affordable and of minimum value) to all full-time employees and their dependants or potentially pay significant penalties. For the first time in history, the PPACA defined a full-time employee as an individual working 30 hours per week averaged over the course of a month. Employers have considered a full-time employee to be one who works 40 hours a week for decades. With the definition as it now stands, many businesses are having to restructure their workforce and reduce their employees’ hours to avoid costs that could potentially bankrupt their companies. The unfortunate and unintended result is that not only are employees not receiving health care coverage, they are now in many cases losing full-time wages.

Returning to the widely-accepted 40-hour definition of a full-time employee would remove this barrier that is forcing employers to reduce hours, thereby limiting overall wages. By reverting back to the traditional definition, employees and employers would both be protected. Particularly during this time when our economy is extremely fragile, it is crucial we provide an atmosphere where employers can focus on strengthening their businesses, employing workers in traditional full-time positions, and revitalizing the economy.

The Chamber continues to support health care reform that builds on and reinforces the employersponsored system, and we look forward to working with you and your colleagues to enact this essential legislation to protect the American workforce and the businesses that drive our nation’s job creation.

R. Bruce Josten