Paul L. Caron

Saturday, November 24, 2012

College Cuts Adjunct Faculty Hours to Avoid ObamaCare

CCAClogoHuffington Post:  CCAC Cuts Adjuncts' Hours to Avoid Obamacare Requirements:

Community College of Allegheny County will cut the hours some instructors to avoid paying for their health insurance coverage under new Affordable Care Act rules.

CCAC President Alex Johnson announced in an email to employees last week that the school would cut course loads and hours for some 200 adjunct faculty members and 200 additional employees. The Affordable Care Act -- nicknamed Obamacare -- classifies employees who work 30 hours or more per week as full-time, and CCAC would be required under the new law to provide employer-assisted health insurance to those employees. Instead, temporary part-time employees, such as clerical, computer, seasonal and other positions, will be limited to working 25 hours per week, and adjunct instructors will only be able to teach 10 credits per semester. Permanent part-time employees, already eligible for health care coverage, will be unaffected. The Pittsburgh-based college estimates the move will save it from spending an additional $6 million. 

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman.)

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The shift to 25 hrs week is only one of negative effects of Obamacare on the economy. The 400% FPL limit on government insurance subsidies will force people to keep their income below this limit. I call this 400% point the "Obamacare Cliff", which I explain at The site describes what happens when you go over the 400% FPL point where government subsidies stop and the premium costs go up drastically. I think this is one of the real problems in Obamacare that has to addressed immediately.
By the way, the tax code for calculating and reconciling Obamacare subsidies is going to be a boon to the tax preparers. For a look at the regulations, see IRS Final Regulations.

Posted by: CapCat | Nov 30, 2012 8:35:23 AM

Set the political argument aside for a moment, please. Can someone save me the chore of doing actual research and explain to me why prep time counts toward the 30 hours? Is the college correct in how they are reading the statute?

Posted by: eli bortman | Nov 26, 2012 10:15:30 AM

If you read the actual article Prof Caron provided (and other stories on this topic) it's clear this is not a university employer. It's likely they can continue to use adjunct instructors and other part-timers without hurting students. Their instructors don't have to be PhDs who do nothing but this job.

Posted by: Tax Accountant Reader | Nov 26, 2012 9:38:00 AM

PT Barnum, Democratic Party strategist.

Posted by: Diggs | Nov 26, 2012 7:22:58 AM

Job killing aspects of ObamaCare

- mandates put upon business
- new taxes put upon business
- higher regulatory compliance costs put upon business
- implicit uncertainty
- long term fiscal risks
- higher health insurance costs

Thank a Democrat

Posted by: Army of Davids | Nov 26, 2012 7:15:31 AM

I think you mean that *unemployed* instructors are those that spend more than 30 hours to teach 10 credits.

10 credit hours does not include time spent on prep, grading, helping students, or attending meetings.

It couldn't happen to a better bunch of people, as college professors supported Obama nationally by a ratio of about 9:1

Adjuncts are not college professors. Adjuncts have no job security, higher teaching loads, lower salaries and in many places fewer or no benefits.

Posted by: G Hanna | Nov 26, 2012 6:19:57 AM

I guess this is the living wage of sin.

Posted by: teapartydoc | Nov 26, 2012 5:45:02 AM

Hope&Change! hits academia. Quite the twofer. First, still no coverage and second even less money to pay for it or anything else for that matter.

I can't think of a better Xmas gift from the President to his base.

It will be amusing to see how it will be George Bush's fault.

Posted by: Bobo from Texas | Nov 26, 2012 5:25:23 AM

Mr. Livingston,

Yes, that is what it means. I own a small business that exclusively hires independent contractors. I do not have to provide any benefits other than hourly rate plus expenses like per diem food, lodging, and transportation. To make it sound less shocking, the hourly rate includes enough money for my independents to buy their own insurance coverage and retirement 401(k). Over the years, I have found that my independents love being in charge of their own lives and work strictly by the terms of their contracts. Does this make it easier to cancel the contract (as opposed to firing an employee), well, yes, but my independents love it. Try it. You may like the freedom of being your own boss. Just make sure you do the math. Make sure the company offering the contract gives you the hourly rate where you can afford your own insurances, retirement, and living expenses. Don't be afraid to negotiate. You may not be the only independent wanting that contact, but you are the only only one they are talking to at that moment. Make the best of it.

Posted by: PB | Nov 26, 2012 5:16:49 AM

Of these 400 academics, there are perhaps four or five who did not vote to re-elect Barack Obama. It is too bad that these four or five also had their hours cut, but the rest of them are getting the government they deserve.

Posted by: Haiku Guy | Nov 26, 2012 5:09:55 AM

Andy..are you serious? This is a natural response to forced legislation. Gosh liberals are dumb.

Posted by: Puddin | Nov 26, 2012 5:09:46 AM

I suspect it was the plan all along; The Won said this was an interim step. But can we drop the euphemism "single payer plan" and call it what they want it to be - government controlled health care? There is even a motto: Aspiring to the standards of Britain's NHS.

Posted by: carolward | Nov 26, 2012 5:09:40 AM

At my last job, we looked into hiring people as contractors on grant funded projects. It turns out that the state takes a dim view of that idea. An independent contractor has to be "independent," without any daily oversight of activities.

I'm not saying its impossible. I'm just noting that there are already reasons for which the state watches to make sure people aren't cheated out of benefits by being labeled as "contractors."

Posted by: Derek | Nov 26, 2012 5:02:43 AM

"If people drop employees and hire independent contractors is this a form of evasion?"

Duh. That's a question that answers itself. I is precisely what is going to happen. I work a great deal in France and our French Subsidiaries hire hundreds of temp employees for a year and then terminate them and get new ones. Just a cost of business to them. And that's what is coming to America thanks to the Obamatards.

Posted by: Chris | Nov 26, 2012 5:00:42 AM

Stealing from thieves and undermining tyrants is only evasion to the thieves and tyrants. Like the song says, "Whose side are you on?"

Posted by: SDN | Nov 26, 2012 4:59:10 AM

Two points: It couldn't happen to a better bunch of people, as college professors supported Obama nationally by a ratio of about 9:1, and as the good professor tells it, they are getting their socialism good and hard. Hope they like it. Welcome to the new normal.

Posted by: pablo panadero | Nov 26, 2012 4:54:37 AM

Guess they still have not figured out how to repeal the law of unintended consequences.

Unless this was their plan all along - to force people into a single payer plan.

Hope all of you Obamaniacs enjoy what you so richly deserve.

Posted by: DarthChocolate | Nov 26, 2012 4:50:49 AM

If people drop employees and hire independent contractors is this a form of evasion?

Posted by: michael livingston | Nov 26, 2012 3:10:16 AM

I think you mean that *unemployed* instructors are those that spend more than 30 hours to teach 10 credits.

Posted by: andy | Nov 25, 2012 9:05:05 PM

Good instructors will spend more than 30 hours/week to prep/teach 10 credits

Posted by: Instructor | Nov 25, 2012 5:26:28 AM