On Friday, the National Restaurant Association applauded Congressman Dan Lipinski's (D-Ill.) efforts to change the 2010 Affordable Care Act law's definition of "full-time" to 40 hours per week.

The legislation, known as the "Forty Hours is Full-time Act," would change ACA law's definition of full-time as 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week.

The Lipinski bill mirrors bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and is similar to another House bill introduced by Congressmen Todd Young (R-Ind.), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.).

"The National Restaurant Association and our members appreciate Congressman Lipinski's introduction of the Forty is Full Time Act in the House, signaling bipartisan and bicameral support for addressing the definition of full-time employee in the health care law," said Scott DeFife, EVP, Policy and Government Affairs, NRA. "The current definition at 30 hours is not aligned with current workforce practices and does not reflect the desire of restaurant and foodservice employees for flexible work schedules. Only Congress can address this challenge in implementing the law."

The NRA and Illinois Restaurant Association first met with Congressman Lipinski in April as part of the NRA's Public Affairs Conference and asked for his support for this effort.

According to the NRA, the definition of full-time employee is of particular importance to restaurants because of the industry's "unique reliance on large numbers of part-time and seasonal workers with fluctuating and unpredictable works hours, as well as unpredictable lengths of service."

The NRA was joined by the International Franchise Association in supporting the Forty Hours is a Full Time Act introduction.

Steve Caldeira, IFA president and CEO, released the following statement about the introduction:

"IFA has worked diligently to educate lawmakers since the law was passed that the definition of a full-time employee under the ACA is unworkable for small business franchise owners who work across various industries, including restaurants, retail, hotel and lodging, and service-related businesses.

"This bill will provide important relief from the Affordable Care Act's mandates to both franchisees and small-business owners who are responsible for creating one out of every eight private-sector jobs in America, while allowing them to grow their businesses and provide flexible work hours to their employees. As members return to their districts during this August recess, they will be hearing from franchise business leaders about the impact this law is having on their business and we urge Congress to put employees first and support this reasonable and practical legislation."

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