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

Thanks to Obamacare, Nebraska Schools Plan to Cut Back Teacher Hours
February 26, 2013

Benjamin Domenech

Benjamin Domenech (bdomenech@heartland.org) is a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute. Domenech... (read full bio)

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.

Benjamin Domenech

Benjamin Domenech (bdomenech@heartland.org) is a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute. Domenech... (read full bio)