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On the employer mandate, lawmakers from both parties have argued that the rule is flawed because it defines a full-time workweek as 30 hours instead of the traditional 40 hours.

They said employers were unprepared for this definition and now have to take on the expense of providing health care coverage for some workers who once were considered part-timers.

The Treasury Department said its latest delay will give employers a chance to phase in coverage. It said businesses could use the extra years to cover employees who work 35 hours or more, in preparation for covering those who work 30 to 34 hours by the time the full mandate takes effect.

A trade group for businesses affected by the mandate said the fresh delays do not attack the root of the problem.

“This announcement is just another delay that, while positive in the short term for some franchises, only postpones the inevitable and demonstrates the Affordable Care Act remains a significant problem for employers to implement,” said Steve Caldera, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association.

Also on Monday, the Treasury clarified how it defines certain workers.

Volunteer firefighters and emergency medical responders will not be counted as full-time employees in regard to the mandate, and teachers will not be treated as part-timers for a full year just because their schools are closed or operate for limited hours during the summer.

Seasonal employees who customarily work for six months or less generally will not be considered full-time workers.

To determine whether they are subject to the mandate, companies can use a previous, six-month period — instead of a full year — to calculate whether they have the equivalent of 100 full-time workers, the regulations said.

Employers whose health care plans take effect after Jan. 1 can begin compliance during 2015.