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Senators Want to Restore Full-Time Employment to 40 Hours, Exempt More Businesses from Health Care Mandates

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

As the economy struggles to create jobs, business owners and employees must confront the reality of President Obama's health care law: more regulations and policies that are increasing costs and forcing businesses to either lay off workers or not hire new workers. According to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., small businesses in particular must bear the brunt of some of the law's worst policies.

Yesterday, Enzi with Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; Tim Scott, R-S.C.; and John Thune, R-S.D. introduced legislation to provide relief for firms that are at the core of the American economy from the onerous federal overreaches in the health care law. The Small Business Fairness in Health Care Act, S.2205, would restore the definition of "full-time" work under the health care law to 40 hours a week and exempt more small businesses from the employer mandate.

The senators said the health care law is full of bad policies that are leading to countless unintended consequences, including less hours for employees and employers not hiring. These one-size-fits-all regulations are hitting workers in their pocketbooks and undercutting the country's economic recovery, according to the senators.

Participation in the labor force is at the lowest point since 1979. Nearly 20 million workers are unemployed or cannot find the full-time employment they want. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, has changed little, at 3.7 million, and account for 35.8 percent of the unemployed. These numbers are not a welcome sign to anyone looking to find a job.

The senators' legislation would provide greater clarity and flexibility for small businesses under health care law by repealing the 30 hours per week standard imposed by the health care law and replace it with a 40 hour per week standard for classifying "full-time equivalents." The bill would also protect companies that have traditionally been counted as small businesses by expanding the scope of the exception in the employer mandate to account for any small business that is defined as a "small business concern" under the Small Business Act.


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