University preps for upcoming health care provisions
Effective Jan. 1, 2013, the university has limited the amount of working hours for part-time employees, which includes part-time staff, student employees, work study employees and adjunct faculty, to an average of 28 hours per week, or 120 hours on average per month.
The President’s office, through a massive email, notified all departments on campus on Dec. 17, 2012 about the need to enforce the new work regulations for part-time employees “in order to stay within interpretation of new federal law and the limitation of institutional resources.”
“With the mandates coming down, we have reduced that to 28, not a big reduction, but enough that is felt by part-timers, and we feel bad for that,” said Judy Martindale, associate director of Compensation and Benefits. “We reduced that to 28 hours because we thought that would be the least impact to part-time employees and to the organization.”
According to new probations in the PPACA, signed by President Obama in 2010, if any part-time employee works more than the amount of hours allowed, he or she is entitled to employee benefits as of Jan. 1, 2014. Otherwise, the employer, including higher education institutions, could face financial penalties for violating the law.
“In 2014, the mandate says any employer with 50 or more employees will need to provide benefits to their employees who are not eligible for benefits right now through their organization,” Martindale said. “The eligibility criteria is if the employee works on average 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month, then they’re eligible for healthcare and the employer would have to offer healthcare to that employee.”
The employee may still decline healthcare coverage under these terms, though it is mandatory that employers offer the benefit.
Each department was required to notify all employees about the new policy changes and were advised to follow these regulations to avoid any further actions. As of Dec. 31, 2012, there were 3,183 part-time employees at the university.
For some UVU employees, it is still unclear how the the changes will affect their current financial situation.
Robert Pyles recently graduated from UVU after the 2012 summer semester and continued working part-time as a tutor in the Academic Tutoring Lab. He is now a level three tutor.
“I won’t always go over the amount of hours. I work what I’m scheduled, but there are times when people want work off, and I kind of need those hours, especially during finals when [students] really need time off, and it’s great for me because I’m available,” Pyles said. “But [the policy changes] are just going to cap me off.”
Roman Sanz, a business major and employee for dining services said that he would like to hear an official statement from the International Student Services office.
International students who before were allowed to work up to 40 hours a week on campus during their break are not yet sure if they will continue to work as full-time employees during their break.
To clarify any concerns, the Human Resources office has set up a website with the new part-time working guidelines for employees and will hold informational meeting sessions Jan. 18, 22 and 28.