‘Obamacare’ benefits mandate could further phase out full-time work

Wave of the future?

Crown Financial Ministries CEO Chuck Bentley argues that less than full-time work is the wave of the future for America. “Given the pressures of Obamacare, many will be forced to combine part-time jobs for a full-time salary,” he said.

Although the trend is just starting to emerge in the government’s official employment statistics, and businesses are loath to acknowledge that they may be avoiding full-time hires because of the law, many people who hire regularly or work in human resources jobs say the trend is unmistakable.

The pressures are cutting the hours even of those who already work part time. Officials in Floyd County, Ind., announced last week plans to pare back the hours of part-time county workers who now work 34 hours a week to get them under the 30-hour-a-week Obamacare mandate. The Southern Lehigh School District in Pennsylvania voted to cut the hours of 51 part-time secretaries, custodians and cafeteria workers to avoid the health care mandate.

“We are always looking to meet our obligations to students, the community, taxpayers, our employees and our staff, and this vote will have a direct impact on some of our employees,” South Lehigh School Board President Jeffrey Dimmig told the Lehigh Valley Morning Call, saying he was “troubled” by having to make the move.

Staffing firms that supply temporary and contingent workers are reporting brisk business this year, with temporary jobs increasing significantly faster than full-time jobs. The American Staffing Association reports a 7.6 percent jump in temporary workers in the past year, while Freelancer.com, the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace, reported triple-digit growth and a doubling of revenue in the past year.

A Sage North America survey of small businesses, which do the most hiring in the U.S., found that 82 percent intend to hire full-time staff this year, while nearly 60 percent also are hiring part-time, seasonal, contract and temporary workers.

“Flexible staffing solutions are an important tool” in an environment of moderate economic growth and growing regulatory burdens, said Richard Wahlquist, president of the staffing association. “American businesses continue to be very strategic about when and how to increase the size of their workforces.”

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