ACA & the 40-Hour Definition: Overview

The Affordable Care Act redefined “full-time employee” as 30 hours per week rather than 40 hours per week, resulting in many restaurants finding it increasingly difficult to broaden access due to increased administrative costs. The added time, operational expense and paperwork have not improved the quality of health insurance that restaurants offer their employees and often discourages restaurants from expanding.

Employees in the restaurant industry are attracted to the flexibility and scheduling freedom of a vibrant workplace, often able to swap shifts and change their hours from week to week in order to accommodate family needs or emergencies. The 30-hour definition has scaled back this flexibility provided by employers, as employees cycle in and out of full-time status from week to week, altering the business's calculations for their liablity under the ACA's employer mandate.

Our position

The National Restaurant Association supports a commonsense definition of the 40-hour workweek for full-time employees, which would provide immediate relief to employers and increase employee hours, flexibility and income. The Association supports legislation that encourages businesses to continue offering health insurance to employees who are truly full time. The traditional 40-hour standard will help discourage business owners from reducing employee hours and provides the greatest flexibility for employers with variable workforce needs.

We urge Congress to pass legislation that will align the ACA's definition of a full-time employee with the Fair Labor Standards Act by restoring the 40-hour definition. This will help small businesses grow while providing more opportunities to America's workforce.