Maximum Hours For Employee Health Care

Maximum average hours per week set at 29 for less-than-fulltime employees of the Plattsmouth Community School District.

The action was taken after discussion and input at recent board of education meetings.

The Cassgram reports the action is part of the district’s compliance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The board’s action will keep those non-certificated employees under the level where they would become “full-time” as defined by the healthcare law. PPACA requires the district to offer health insurance to employees classified as full-time (averaging 30 hours per week or more).

The part-time employees, totaling about 120 and including positions such as teacher para-professionals, administrative assistants, food service staff, bus drivers and family service advocates, were not receiving health insurance but some averaged over 30 hours a week this past school year. Providing those employees with health insurance would have cost the district over $400,000. (2013-14 is considered the “look back” year for deciding the level of hours worked—the health insurance coverage would have had to begin in the 2014-2015 school year.)

The district looked at several options over the last few months with a deadline looming as some 2013-14 contracts start as early as July.

Debate continued at this week’s meeting with two amendments failing on 3-to-5 and 4-to 4-votes. Board member Tony Foster was vocal during the discussions on the motions. Looking at the reduced hours, Foster said, “It’s bad business to cut people’s pay.” He agreed on the 29 hour per week amendment after receiving assurances from other board members that the pay increases for the non-certificated employees in the new budget will offset the loss of hours.

With the action taken by the board, the part-time employees can work up to 1189 hours over 41 weeks. For school situations, PPACA allows the 41-week parameter even though classes aren’t held for almost four of those weeks—Christmas vacation, spring break and shortened weeks at the beginning and end of the school year—so some part-time personnel could actually exceed 30 hours per week of working but still fall under the 1189 hour limit. For a typical teacher para-professional who was working 7 hours per day, the new limit is about 6¾ hours per day, said Superintendent Dr. Rich Hasty.

Those non-certificated employees who are managers or who have been receiving insurance benefits will not have their status changed.

The administrative staff and the employee will be responsible for tracking the hours.

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