Through 2016, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had little to no adverse effect on employment and usual hours worked per week, according to recent research from the Urban Institute.
The potential impact of the ACA on the labor market has been controversial since the law was enacted, noted the Urban Institute. Because the ACA defines a full-time worker as one working 30 hours or more per week, employers subject to the employer mandate may reduce or avoid penalties by keeping workers’ hours below the 30-hour threshold, thereby increasing the amount of involuntary part-time employment.
The study, Recent Evidence on the ACA and Employment: Has the ACA Been a Job Killer? 2016 Update, noted that levels of part-time work (29 or fewer hours per week) have fallen since 2014, but remain at somewhat higher levels than would be expected at this stage of the economic recovery. The higher-than-expected rate of part-time work is driven by increases in voluntary part-time employment. Involuntary part-time employment was lower than expected. These findings suggest that the ACA did not lead to widespread cutbacks in workers’ hours by employers attempting to avoid employer mandate penalties, but may have led some workers to reduce the number of hours they chose to work.
The study concluded that three years after implementation of the ACA’s major provisions, the policy seems to have increased health insurance coverage for 20 million Americans with little or no adverse effects on employment.
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