BANGOR, Maine — Bangor School Department Superintendent Betsy Webb will testify about the effect the Affordable Care Act’s “30-hour full-time rule” has on the city’s school system on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
Webb is scheduled to speak to the U.S. Senate Education, Health, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is a member, during a 9:30 a.m. hearing.
Webb is one of two Maine representatives on the governing board of the American Association of School Administrators and goes to Washington, D.C., each year along with representatives of other states to sit down with legislative delegates to discuss issues facing school districts across the nation.
This year, Collins asked Webb to speak to the health committee about “unintended consequences” the Affordable Care Act would have on school departments.
Webb said she’ll focus on the “30-hour rule,” which requires employers to provide health care to any employees who work 30 hours per week or more.
School districts across the country, including Maine, are facing dwindling resources and increasing demands and mandates on their limited funding, Webb said. With the 30-hour full-time rule, Webb said school departments have to cover health care for part-time employees, such as substitute teachers.
“I worry about not having the flexibility to use a common-sense approach” when full-time teachers need extended time off, such as maternity leave, Webb said. The number of Bangor School Department employees who work 30 hours per week was not immediately available.
Collins and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, have introduced legislation to change the definition of “full-time” employee in the Affordable Care Act to someone who works an average of 40 hours per week.
Other witnesses speaking on the issue will be the president of the American Action Forum — a center-right policy institute — a restaurant CEO and the founder of a Seattle-based pizzeria chain, according to a release from Collins’ office.
The hearing will be streamed at www.help.senate.gov.
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