The 40-Hour Full-Time Act Has Legs… and Is Running Full-Steam Ahead

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

40-Hour Act Has Legs for HomecareIn the United States, many employers take it for granted that a 40-hour work week is the definition of a full-time employee. But in a recent teleconference presented by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), we learned that the Affordable Care Act shifts that definition.

Included in the 1,000-page document is a definition of “full-time” work as 30 hours per week. Employers can choose a “look-back” period between three and 12 months to determine if an employee has worked an average of 30 hours per week. That person would be considered a full-time employee for the next six months.

The employer mandate, as you know, requires companies with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide insurance or pay a significant fine.  So the question your home care agency may face is what constitutes “full time”?

NAHC has helped spearhead the “40-Hour is Full-Time Act,” which was introduced in the U.S. Senate a few weeks ago. Maine Sen. Susan Collins has shepherded this bill in the Senate, but the prospects of passage are uncertain. Quite simply, the bill establishes 40 hours as full-time status and would modify that portion of the Affordable Care Act.

As you well know, home care workers must be caring and compassionate – as well as competent. Finding and keeping employees with both the hard skills and soft skill necessary to succeed in this industry can be difficult to come by, as was pointed out in the NAHC teleconference. The benefits package an agency is able to offer could be key to its ability to retain competent staff.

NAHC is working to create a bare-bones insurance policy for home care workers, much like AARP created a policy for its members. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has provided guidance in developing that insurance policy. Stay tuned to learn more.

Learn how home health software can help you stay in compliance with these and other changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act by subscribing to the Homecare Talk Blog or by liking us on Facebook.

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