Are there Ethical considerations to note regarding the bill: ACA 40 hour work week?

The issue of the definition of full time employment being redefined as 40 hours per week from 30 hours per week has its pros and cons. The question that comes to mind is who does this benefit? The bill’s chief sponsor Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind. Did make a note of the fact that many employers have been reducing the hours of part-time workers to less than 30 per week to avoid having to offer and cover health insurance benefits as mandated by law (Miller, 2014). “Many of our hourly workers are experiencing a drop in the number of hours and wages that they enjoy of as much as 25 percent,” Young said. “These are cafeteria workers, these are substitute teachers, these are adjunct professors. … On balance, these are folks who can least afford to see a cut in their take-home pay. And so we want to restore the 40-hour workweek.” – Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind.

The flip side of this is that there are professions where full time employment does not count as a 40 hour work week. Some job requirements while using 30 hours a week as the definition for full time employment schedule employees to work at least 36 hours per week to meet their full time requirements. For example a lot of health care institutions employ medical professionals with such schedules. How would this affect scheduling and staffing of jobs which research has shown that this method of staffing is effective and most beneficial for the type of work, organizations and its workforce?

Yes, the proposed bill will hinder employers from reducing workers’ hours to below 30 hours per week in order to avoid the mandate to offer health insurance benefits but it will also affect staffing and schedules in other well established parts of the work force. According to Knoll (2011) nurses reported that 12 hour shift schedules improved staff morale and reduced absenteeism due to a better work-life balance which translated to better patient care.

Comments, questions and concerns about this policy in the making are requested and will be appreciated. Should we as future advance practice nurses support this bill or not? What would the impact be on the general workforce? Could this bill protect or harm businesses and/or employees alike? Any suggestions for Congress that would satisfy both the needs of employers and employees or at least mitigate the ramifications of the new bill as it is written and its potential side effects?

References

Knoll, M. (2013). The Nursing Debate: 8-Hour Shifts vs. 12-Hour Shifts. Retrieved from       http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/nursing/blog/nursing-debate-8-hour-shifts-vs-12-hour-shifts/

Miller, S. (2014). 40-Hour Workweek Bill Passes House; Senate Prospects Slim Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/articles/pages/40-hour-workweek-passes-house.aspx

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One thought on “Are there Ethical considerations to note regarding the bill: ACA 40 hour work week?

  1. Ifiok,

    I think this subject is of great concern to nurses and medical professionals that work 12 hour shifts. Often times, shift work is the reason people choose to work in settings that offer this schedule, such as the hospital. Six out of every 10 households with children both parents are working, making childcare a primary reason for choosing 12 hour shifts, especially with childcare costs steadily increasing in the past 25 years (The Council of Economic Advisers, 2014). A flexible schedule that allows for four days off a week is the only way some families can manage successfully. I think this bill would definitely harm the work-life balance of so many families. Have you found any information that supports the 36 hour work weeks among health care workers? The article by Miller (2014) does not even mention the implications to this population.

    Miller, S. (2014). 40-Hour Workweek Bill Passes House; Senate Prospects Slim Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/articles/pages/40-hour-workweek-passes-house.aspx

    The Council of Economic Advisers. (2014). Nine facts about American families and work. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/nine_facts_about_family_and_work_real_final.pdf

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