Central Michigan University students and part-time staff working on campus for 25 or more hours per week will see a cut in their work hours this fall.
The Affordable Care Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2010, requires employers who hire 50 or more workers to provide health insurance to employees who average more than 30 hours per week. That goes for private businesses as well as public entities, including colleges and universities.
In response, those working on campus at CMU may not exceed 50 hours per pay period, or 25 hours per week.
“CMU will be monitoring this beginning in January 2014,” Manager of Student Employment Services Jon Goodwin said. “We will be sending notifications to students about the new rule, but at this time I don’t know in what form or when this will take place.”
By January, it is the students’ and employers responsibility to make sure they do not have an on-campus workload exceeding 50 hours per pay period, at risk of being penalized.
According to a document posted on the Student Employment Services website, failure to follow this new rule can lead to a decrease in hours, and even termination. CMU could also be fined up to $5 million by the federal government should they fail to offer health care to students who exceed this cap.
“The students have to make sure they don’t work over that amount of hours; that’s their responsibility,” Goodwin said. “This will also be monitored by the university.”
Originally scheduled to be implemented by next year, the Obama administration announced it would delay the so-called employer mandate until 2015, citing a need for the U.S. Treasury Department to simplify how businesses report their health care plan information to the government.
“Under the provisions of health care reform, employers are penalized, more or less. It could be as high as a $2,000 penalty for every full-time employee,” said Jacqueline Pridgeon, Director of Benefits and Wellness.
CMU had different options to pick from when this new reform came into effect. However, with the small number of students being affected, the most responsible option was to cap working hours, according to Pridgeon.
“When we did our analysis and took a look at what the impact would be of the various options that we might have, we discovered there were very few students who were actually exceeding a 30-hour average,” Pridgeon said. “So, the direction that we chose to go in was to implement this cap in order to avoid any penalties.”
Student Employment Services will be monitoring the students to make sure the new maximum workload is not exceeded. HR-Employment Services will be monitoring temporary staff.
“This will affect about 140 students,” Goodwin said. “That 140 is out of 5,700 students working on campus. So, relatively speaking, that’s a small percentage.”
Resident assistants and multicultural advisors are also included in the cap. According to the Student Employment Services document, individuals who hold these positions work an average of 40 hours per pay period, so they are advised to not exceed 10 additional hours per pay period at another location.
This new measure will also affect 120 temporary staff.
For further information and other specifics, see the sidebar document on the Student Employment Services section of CMU’s website.