The Affordable Care Act is having a huge impact on schools in Alabama, and some systems say it is a negative impact. Officials with the Albertville school system said both the system and its employees are impacted, and those hardest hit will be the people who work and earn the least.
Substitute teachers are expected to be the hardest hit, those who are on call to come in and assist the system when a vacancy needs filling. That includes substitutes in the classroom, bus drivers, custodial or cafeteria workers; all will be affected under new rules imposed under the ACA.
The act sets 30 hours as a weekly standard for part-time and full-time employment. In some cases, on-call workers can make extra money when they have to fill in more that needed. That's good for their pocketbook. But under the new regulations, part-time workers are being cut to make sure they do not cross the 30-hour threshold.
"Normally we could call as many times as we like to, but now because they can't exceed 30 hours a week, we're having to limit those hours for those employees," said Sherri Hill with Albertville City Schools.
The system has approximately 500 full-time employees and nearly 200 part-time employees. School officials said if one part-time employee seeks insurance through the exchange, then the system must pay the penalty. The other option would be to hire all part-time employees, which officials say would be very costly.
"There's no way we could take on that much additional staff. The only way that our insurance provider would cover them is if they moved into full-time status," said Hill.
Hill said we're currently in a monitoring phase, and that penalties would not kick in until January 2015.
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