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Published On: Thu, Jan 17th, 2013

Four colleges to cut faculty hours to Part-time status, blames Obamacare

Four public colleges and universities:  Florida’s Palm Beach State College, Pennsylvania’s Community College of Allegheny County, Ohio’s Youngstown State University, and New Jersey’s Kean University, are all planning to move adjunct and “contingent” faculty members to part-time status in order to avoid an Obamacare provision requiring businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health coverage for at least 95 percent of their workers.

The Global Dispatch stretched logo 300x150Gwen Bradley, a senior program officer for the American Association of University Professors, said the AAUP’s National Committee on contingent faculty was “deeply concerned” by the emerging trend.

“Adjuncts are very precarious anyway,” said Bradley. “They usually have very low wages, and are often already below the thresholds for health care. But for those people who have it, being cut down to lose it is very devastating.”

Only contingent faculty—as opposed to full-time, tenure-track faculty—would be affected by the change in policy. Since the Affordable Care Act requires that employers provide health care to any employee who works 30 hours per week or more, universities like Palm Beach State College have opted to cap the time that contingent faculty are allowed to work at just below the 30-hour benchmark.

“It’s about having their course load reduced so they’re teaching less and having less paid for their salaries,” said Craig Smith, the director of the American Federation of Teacher’s higher education division. For many contingent faculty members, “it’s not like they were receiving health care in the first place.”

Teachers’ associations like AAUP and AFT are bracing for the shift. Next week, AFT will host a webinar for its members addressing “the implications of the Affordable Care Act for contingent faculty.” In the meantime, both organizations are hoping the federal government will require universities to count time spent outside the classroom as part of adjunct faculty’s work hours.

Bradley applauded a recent IRS ruling which she said determined “that failing to take into account grading and prep is not reasonable” when it comes to calculating employee hours. Smith said that AFT had been “making comments to the Treasury Department and encouraging them to write the regulations in such a way that for part-time faculty, the hours they work are counted correctly.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news for Examiner, starting and writing for several different websites including the diverse blognews site Desk of Brian. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  81. [...] Four colleges to cut faculty hours to Part-time status, blames Obamacare [...]

  82. [...] Four colleges to cut faculty hours to Part-time status, blames Obamacare (theglobaldispatch.com) [...]

  83. The reason no one is required to participate in the Health Care Act, as stated in section 1555, is simply the Act amends Public Law 93-406, the Employees Retirement Security Act, an International Agreement for Foreigners.

    One Hundred Eleventh Congress
    of the
    United States of America
    AT THE SECOND SESSION
    Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,
    the fifth day of January, two thousand and ten
    An Act
    Entitled The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
    Public Law 111-148 ( available on line)

    TITLE I—QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS
    Subtitle A—Immediate Improvements in Health Care Coverage for All Americans

    Sec. 1001. Amendments to the Public Health Service Act.

    Sec. 1555. Freedom not to participate in Federal health insurance programs.

    SEC. 1555 ø42 U.S.C. 18115¿. FREEDOM NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN FEDERAL
    HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAMS.
    No individual, company, business, nonprofit entity, or health
    insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage
    shall be required to participate in any Federal health insurance
    program created under this Act (or any amendments made
    by this Act), or in any Federal health insurance program expanded
    by this Act (or any such amendments), and there shall be no
    penalty or fine imposed upon any such issuer for choosing not
    to participate in such programs.

    26 U.S.C. §406. Employees of foreign affiliates covered by section 3121(l) agreements
    EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1974 AMENDMENT
    PUBLIC LAW 93-406 EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SECURITY ACT
    Amendment by section 1016(a)(4) of Pub. L. 93–406 applicable, except as otherwise provided in section 1017(c) through (i) of Pub. L. 93–406, for plan years beginning after Sept. 2, 1974, but, in the case of plans in existence on Jan. 1, 1974, amendment by Pub. L. 93–406 applicable for plan years beginning after Dec. 31, 1975, see section 1017 of Pub. L. 93–406, set out as an Effective Date; Transition of Rules note under section 410 of this title.

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