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Wage and hours bill passes House

The Obama administration vowed to veto a GOP-sponsored bill in the House that would redefine full-time employment from 30 hours a week as stated in the Affordable Care Act to 40 hours a week. The change is aimed at exempting more employers from having to provide health care to their employees and may affect some Missouri workers.

One of the bill's Republican sponsors says the bill is a response to employers dropping the number of hours their employees work to 29 or fewer, which mostly targets minimum wage workers like substitute teachers and cafeteria workers.

He argued that by "restor(ing) the 40-hour workweek," they will be aiding workers. A spokesman for bizjournals.com refers to a study done by the right-leaning American Action Forum that indicates the bill would protect "11.8 million workers who work more than 30 hours a week from having their hours cut."

Not so fast, says the Congressional Budget Office, citing the 1 million Americans who would lose their employer-based health care coverage as the taxpayers picked up the tab if the wage law bill passes.

According to estimates by the CBO, the federal budget deficit would increase by $73.7 million over the next decade if the bill passes.

Stories in the media suggest a certain percentage of employers have shifted their policies toward only hiring employees that are part-time in order to dodge requirements of the ACA and cut costs.

White House officials reacted dismissively toward the GOP's latest attempt to subvert the implementation of the ACA. They issued a statement denouncing the bill as yet another attack on the throngs of Americans who remain uninsured.

While there may be little recourse for the average worker to these Congressional efforts, workers are well within their rights to stand up for workplace inequality and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If your employer is not complying with industry safety standards and federal law in your workplace, you may have a cause of action to pursue in the courts.

Source: Hannibal Courier-Post, "House passes bill defining full-time work as 40 hours" Eric Schulzke, Apr. 04, 2014

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