Monday, February 17, 2014

Will Obama Care Set the New US Work Week?

This is a repost from September 2013.

For as long as I can remember the 40 hour work week has been the gold standard. It is built into union contracts, and generally accepted that 40 hour work week is the rule that establishes full time employment. 

Along comes Obama Care and establishes the 40 hour week as the benchmark for the point at which employers must provide health care.

The Nevada AFL-CIO unanimously passed a Resolution Condemning the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obama Care.

Not too surprisingly, a number of companies are quickly moving workers from full time to part time and reducing their work hours below 30 hours per week to avoid the health care issue.
Obviously this creates a lot of problems for workers and businesses as they adjust to these new work schedules and pay.

There has been a growing desire to shorten the formal work week. Maybe an unintended consequence of Obama Care will ultimately be a redefining of the work week to 30 hours.

It would take some getting used to, but over time salaried/professional workers will begin to want a 30 hour work week and as health insurance becomes more affordable, it just may be in the
professionals' best interest to provide his/her own insurance, so coverage continues from job to job.
Ad that to self provided retirement funds and in the next decade or so the whole relationship between employers and workers may change at all levels.

The whole concept of not depending on an employer and some wacko boss for your health care and retirement security has an appealing ring about it. To say nothing of what you could do with all that free time.
Maybe this Obama Care thing isn't so bad after all.

Check out Grace-Marie Turner's piece In Forbes: The Human Tragedy of Obamacare Job Losses.  

Turner points out that the health care act will be a massive incentive for people to opt out of work. Obama Care is also a huge incentive to reduce the number of workers and the hours worked.

As I point out above 30 may become the new 40, but the argument that all of this will lead to more jobs, just fewer work hours may not hold up.

Just look at what happened as we move through the jobless recovery. Automation has replaced workers. Nice part about that is machines don't require health care, just a good service contract.

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