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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The retail community won the first round in its fight to restore the 40-hour workweek definition under the Affordable Care Act, but the change is far from a done deal.
As CSNews Online reported, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 30 — known as the Save American Workers Act — by a 252-172 vote late Thursday afternoon. The measure amends "the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the 30-hour threshold for classification as a full-time employee for purposes of the employer mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and replace it with 40 hours."
However, the vote was short of the 290 needed, assuming all members voted, for the two-thirds majority required to override a veto by President Barack Obama.
Still, retail organizations praised the House's move.
"Retailers have voluntarily offered health care coverage to their employees and their families for decades and restoring the historic 40-hour workweek threshold is critical to allowing them to continue to offer this coverage," said Christine Pollack, vice president of government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. "The Save American Workers Act protects American jobs, and retailers urge the Senate to follow the lead of the House and pass the Forty Hours is Full Time Act."
According to NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) introduced the same bill in the Senate this week and S. 30 has already garnered 24 additional supporters.
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance on Jan. 6.
The More Time for Full Time initiative, which represents hundreds of thousands of employers and tens of millions of employees, also commented on the passage of H.R. 30: "Save American Workers Act of 2015" and the Senate introduction of "40 Hours is Full Time."
"The More Time for Full Time initiative praises the House passage of the Save American Workers Act. From restaurants, retail, groceries, hotels and beyond, the employer community has come together to share our collective story with members on both sides of the aisle. We thank Reps. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) for their continued leadership on this bipartisan issue," the group said in a statement.
According to the initiative, "the 30-hour definition under the current health care law hurts employers and employees by forcing employers to restructure their workforce and reduce their employees’ hours. Raising the definition to the more traditional 40-hour workweek lifts the burden placed on employers, and helps them get back to creating jobs in their communities and growing their businesses."
The initiative members include NACS, the National Retail Federation, the National Grocers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated the bill will see a vote in his chamber, according to Seeking Alpha.
"With House passage, we urge the Senate to move forward on this issue swiftly," said the More Time for Full Time initiative. "We thank Sens. Susan Collins and Joe Donnelly for introducing the bipartisan '40 Hours is Full Time Act' this week and look forward to working with senators on both sides of the aisle to push this critical legislation forward."