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Thanks to Obamacare, Nebraska Schools Plan to Cut Back Teacher Hours

February 26, 2013

Thanks to the work requirements in Obamacare, Nebraska school districts are considering cutting back hours for teachers and other employees to avoid getting hit by the employer mandate threshold. The AP reports:

A lawyer for Nebraska public school districts said districts are considering cutting thousands of part-time non-teacher employees’ hours next year to avoid offering them health insurance benefits mandated by the Affordable Health Care Act.

The act requires large employers – those with at least 50 full-time equivalent workers – to cover at least 60 percent of health care costs for employees who works more than 30 hours per week, putting some businesses and government agencies in a difficult position.

 

Karen Haase, a lawyer who represents about 150 school districts throughout Nebraska, said thousands of non-teaching employees – including teacher aides, bus drivers, custodians, cooks and clerical staff – could be offered extended health benefits, have their hours cut or be laid off. With tight budgets, Haase said she doubts many districts will offer benefits to part-time staff working more than 30 hours.

Some smaller school districts may lay off employees to remain under the 50 full-time equivalent workers cut off, and others plan to not hire additional staff to remain under the threshold, Haase said.

Haase said one Omaha-area district could reduce hours for 108 part-time teacher aides, but she wouldn’t name the district.

School districts in larger cities seem to be focused on cutting hours, while many smaller school districts are considering risking the penalty for not offering benefits because they don’t have enough staff to reassign duties, Haase said.

It only makes sense, and for part time employees within the school systems, it’s one more unanticipated and unwelcome reaction to Obama’s law.

Author bio:

Benjamin Domenech (bdomenech@heartland.org) is managing editor of Health Care News and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.

Benjamin joined The Heartland Institute in 2009 after several years working and writing on national health care policy, beginning with a political appointment as speechwriter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, and continuing as chief speechwriter for U.S. Senator John Cornyn during the Medicare Part D debate on Capitol Hill.

In addition to his work with Heartland, Benjamin is currently editor of The City, an academic journal of faith, politics, and culture, published by Houston Baptist University. He previously worked as a book editor for Eagle Publishing, where he edited multiple New York Times bestsellers in the arenas of politics, history, and sports. He was a founding board member of Redstate, a prominent conservative activist community site, and co-hosts Coffee & Markets, an award-winning daily podcast focused on politics, policy, and the marketplace.

Educated at the College of William & Mary and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Benjamin regularly writes opinion columns for the Washington Examiner and RealClearPolitics, and in 2009 he was chosen as a Journalism Fellow by the Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Christine.

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