Wednesday, April 2, 2014

National Restaurant Association Issues Key Vote on Young Bill, Calls for Traditional Full-Time Work Definition



(Washington, D.C.) The National Restaurant Association today notified members of the U.S. House of Representatives that it is considering H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, as a “key vote” and top priority for the restaurant industry. The legislation authored by Congressman Todd Young would reinstate the historic definition of full-time as working 40 hours per week under the Affordable Care Act.

In the NRA’s letter sent in support of the bill, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs Scott DeFife writes, “Aligning the law’s definition of full-time employee status with current levels used by restaurant and foodservice operators would help avoid any unnecessary disruptions to employees’ wages and hours, and would provide significant relief to employers.”

The ACA’s full-time employee definition has been a critical issue for the restaurant industry. The association has worked with members of both chambers and political parties for years on a to address this challenging part of the law for restaurant operators’ compliance. The complete key vote letter is copied below:

On behalf of the National Restaurant Association, the leading trade association representing the restaurant and foodservice industry, I write to urge you to vote YES in favor of H.R. 2575, the “Save American Workers Act,” when it is considered on the House floor this week.  The National Restaurant Association may consider any votes on, or related to, such legislation in our annual “How They Voted” legislative scorecard.

H.R. 2575 would reinstate the historic definition of full-time as working 40 hours per week.  The law’s definition of full-time set at 30 hours could have lasting impacts on the labor market, far beyond the Affordable Care Act, with the unintended consequence of potentially limiting hours for workers who do not intend to rely on their employer for their insurance needs.

One reason so many Americans are drawn to restaurant and foodservice industry jobs is the flexibility to build a work schedule or change hours to suit their personal needs. Generally, most restaurant operators have classified positions as salaried and hourly, not full- or part-time.  Previously, hourly workers were able to take on extra shifts as available and as they chose to work.  However, under this law, there is now a bright line as to who is considered full-time and who is considered part-time.  As a result, the flexibility so many enjoy and seek out in working for the industry may become harder to find.

In its analysis of the legislation, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) acknowledged employers’ commitment to offering coverage to employees and projects that only a small percentage of employers would either reassign or reduce hours of employees who work more than 40 hours per week.  More than 156 million people would continue to be covered by employer-sponsored plans, underscoring the CBO’s conclusion that “most of the affected employers would continue to offer coverage because most employers construct compensation packages to attract the best available workers at the lowest possible cost.”

Aligning the law’s definition of full-time employee status with current levels used by restaurant and foodservice operators would help avoid any unnecessary disruptions to employees’ wages and hours, and would provide significant relief to employers.  The National Restaurant Association supports H.R. 2575 and encourages you to vote YES when it is considered on the House floor.



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