Rich Rabin Discusses the Impact on Employers of the ACA’s 30-Hour Rule

Akin Gump labor and employment partner Rich Rabin was quoted by Law360 for its article “4 Hurdles For Hospitality Cos. Under The ACA's 30-Hour Rule,” on the Affordable Care Act’s definition of a “full-time employee” as one who works an average of 30 hours a week and its potential impact.

Rabin noted that, due to an extension, “Next year is a really important year. It will be the look-back year that 2013 was supposed to be” for purposes of tabulating and analyzing workers’ hours.

On the topic of the new rule’s implications for union deals that have already been negotiated, he said, “…you're going to have employers needing to potentially renegotiate collective bargaining agreements in a way that makes them more favorable to employees.” 

On the related topic of employers’ need to examine union health plans for potentially noncompliant features, Rabin said, “Historically, that has been something the employer writes a check for and doesn't think too much about afterwards…employers are going to need to learn a lot more about these health plans.”

Finally, regarding potential lawsuits under FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) and ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) triggered by employers that attempt to lower workers’ hours in order to deny them full-time status, he said, “The 30-hour rule—the bright line the law draws at 30 hours—is going to lead to a few types of class litigation," Rabin said."I think you're going to see a whole new wave of off-the-clock claims, alleging companies forced employees to work off the clock to avoid the 30-hour threshold, as well as class ERISA claims alleging interference with protected rights.”

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