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House bill would change PPACA definition of full-time employee

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Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives on Friday would ease the health care reform law's definition of a full-time employee, shielding more employers from a stiff financial penalty imposed by the law.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers are required effective in 2014 to offer qualified coverage to full-time employees — defined as those working an average of 30 hours per week — or be liable for a $2,000 penalty per employee.

The legislation, H.R. 2575, introduced by Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., would change the definition of full-time employees to those working an average of 40 hours per week.

Repealing the 30-hour definition of a full-time employee “and restoring it to the historical norm ensures this bill not only protects working poor and middle class employees, it also ensures that laws governing employment are consistent,” Rep. Young said in a statement.

The introduction of the measure comes one year to the day of the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the health care reform law provision requiring most Americans to enroll in a health care plan or pay a tax, effective Jan. 1, 2014.