The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

February 6, 2014

Congress considering 40-hour work week bills

Action could mean more pay for part-time workers

ANDERSON — As members of the Indiana congressional delegation fight to designate a change to what constitutes full-time employment, a local union believes it will increase the pay of part-time workers.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, have voiced support to change the full-time employment from 30 hours as outlined in the Affordable Care Act back to 40 hours.

The Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House on Tuesday passed legislation to define full-time employment as 40 hours per week. The legislation awaits a vote on the House floor.

Brigid Kelly, an official with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 70, said the 30-hour designation impacted its members.

“There are a lot of people that work part-time,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it is 30 or 40 hours, there are a large group of employers that don’t want to provide benefits to part-time employees.”

Kelly said it is never a good situation for union members to have their working hours cut because of the impact on their income.

She said the union supports the “Part Time Employees Bill of Rights,” which would give incentives to employers to provide benefits to all employees.

That bill has been assigned to the Education and Workforce Committee of the U.S. House. Kelly doesn’t expect the legislation to be passed.

“The more people that are covered by insurance means it will drive down the cost,” Kelly said.

Brooks said she is hopeful the legislation will be approved following action by the House committee.

“I’ve heard from too many constituents who are losing time on the job and are taking home less money to support their families because of this provision,” Brooks said in a statement released Wednesday. “I’m very encouraged legislation I’ve co-sponsored that will restore the traditional work week from 30 hours to 40 hours is moving forward.”

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