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The Affordable Care Act and Part-Time Employment: A Family-Friendly Policy

For Immediate Release: September 11, 2014
Contact: Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115

Washington DC - A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) provides details on an interesting trend in part-time employment over the last year. In the months leading up to the opening of the ACA exchanges, some critics argued that the law would increase involuntary part-time employment. The rationale most often suggested was that employers would cut back workers’ hours to less than 30 per week to avoid penalties associated with not providing insurance under the ACA. However, involuntary part-time employment been trending downward throughout the recovery.

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Voluntary part-time employment, though, did increase in the first six months of 2014 compared to the first six months of 2013. The paper gives a breakdown of the distribution of part-time employment by age, gender, and whether or not the household has children. The data show that the biggest increase in voluntary part-time employment is for young people with children. This would be consistent with a story where many workers who previously needed to work full-time to get health care insurance at their job are taking the option of buying insurance on the exchanges and working part-time jobs in order to have more time to be with young children.

This ending of job lock was an important goal of the ACA . This evidence in this paper indicates that workers are beginning to take advantage of the freedom from not being dependent on a job for their family’s health care insurance.

The full paper can be found here.

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