- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A new study says 2.6 million part-time workers with relatively low incomes could have their hours or pay cut because an Obamacare mandate defines a full-time work week as 30 hours of labor.

The Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University, says 63 percent of the affected workers are women and 60 percent of them are between the ages of 19 and 34. The study described the workers as a “vulnerable population” with median incomes of $14,333 among individuals and $29,126 among families.

Nine out of 10 of those workers do not have a college degree, and 600,000 of them work in the retail industry, 225,000 in education and nearly 590,000 in restaurants, according to the study.

Lanhee J. Chen, a Hoover fellow and adviser on GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign for president in 2012, outlined the study’s findings in hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee.

The hearing delved into the controversial “employer mandate” tied to the Affordable Care Act, which requires firms with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health coverage or pay fines.

The Obama administration delayed the mandate’s implementation by one year, to 2015, but lawmakers from both parties are concerned about its potential effect on the workforce, particularly its use of a 30-hour work week instead of the more traditional 40-hour threshold.

GOP leaders on the Ways and Means Committee said the 30-hour cutoff provides a perverse incentive for companies to make sure part-time employees work less than 30 hours, so they do not have to pay for expensive health coverage.