University suspends work-hour limitations allowing employees to exceed 25-hour cap

Central Michigan University’s Human Resources office announced Wednesday that its 25-hour per week work limitations policy will be suspended until January 2015.

The policy change was in response to a provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to offer health insurance to full-time employees. The university policy was put in place Jan. 5.

Jacqui Pridgeon, director of benefits and wellness for Human Resources, said between Jan. 5 and Wednesday, the 25-hour per week cap was still in effect.

On Feb. 10, new federal guidelines were released, detailing the suspension of the federal rule until 2015, she said.

An email addressed to those affected by the 25-hour cap was sent out by the university on Feb. 12. The email said the policy would remain the same, despite changes at the federal level, until an HR evaluation was complete.

Pridgeon said the change in policy will allow affected employees to work more hours.

“It eases the rules for our non-benefit employees, which are primarily students,” she said. “Their total hours could be higher than 50 hours per week as long as their supervisors allows them to work extended hours.”

The 25-hour regulations impacted many university employees, including student workers, graduate assistants, temporary staff, Global Campus adjunct faculty and less-than-half-time fixed-term faculty.

Even employees who work multiple campus jobs will be able to continue to do so.

“They won’t have to worry about the 50 hours per pay period cap,” she said. “They’ll be able to work more hours this year if that’s something they choose to pursue.”

Prior to the new regulations being released, the university had no knowledge federal regulators would be suspended.

Previous regulations required employers to offer their employees healthcare options if they were working more than 30 hours per week.

It also said 50 hours was the maximum amount of hours non-benefit eligible employees, even those working in multiple departments, would be able to work.

Ben Fortin, vice president of the Graduate Student Union, welcomed this suspension.

“It was really unrealistic to begin with, the expectation for GA’s to complete all their work in 25 hours or less,” he said. “The university actually only pays us for 20 hours. But if you’re an instructor of record, you have so much work.”

There are about 500 graduate students enrolled at CMU who are graduate assistants, Fortin said.

Kyle Gogo, a Grand Rapids freshman, was happy to hear he could work more hours because he works about 30 hours every two weeks at his job as a monitor at the Charles V. Park Library.

“Now I can get some more hours in two weeks, make a little extra money,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about going over at all.”

Anthony Moreno, the monitors information desk supervisor, said the library’s policy is to not have employees work more than 20 hours per week, while the maximum for the rest of campus was 25 hours per week.

Moreno said many of his employees are leaving during the upcoming spring break, so this new ruling could impact his staff in the short-term.

“It’s the second week of that pay period, so I was kind of a little stressed out about it,” Moreno said. “So this might be a little bit more flexible now. It could be a positive, at least for that week.”


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