Washington, D.C. – As the economy struggles to create jobs, business owners and employees must confront the reality of President Obama’s health care law: more regulations and policies that are increasing costs and forcing businesses to either lay off workers or not hire new workers. Small businesses in particular must bear the brunt of some of the law’s worst policies.

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) joined with Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and John Thune (R-S.D.) to introduce legislation to provide relief for firms that are at the core of the American economy from the onerous federal overreaches in the health care law. The Small Business Fairness in Health Care Act, S.2205, would restore the definition of “full-time” work under the health care law to 40 hours a week and exempt more small businesses from the employer mandate.

“President Obama chose to delay the employer mandate of the health care law because it will be a burden on businesses and job creators. Rather than delaying its implementation for businesses, this law should be repealed for everyone,” said Portman. “Until then, I will fight to make sure that this onerous and complex law harms as few Ohioans as possible.  Our legislation today would ensure that more small businesses across Ohio are exempted from entering the costly health care exchanges that will stand in the way of them expanding and hiring more workers.  In addition, the bill would restore the traditional definition of full time work to 40 hours. When Obamacare redefined full time work as 30 hours per week, many small businesses reduced their employees’ hours and pay in an attempt to skirt the health care law’s onerous regulations.  The last thing we want to do during an already weak economy is provide an incentive for employers to cut back on work.”

The senators said the health care law is full of bad policies that are leading to countless unintended consequences, including fewer hours for employees and employers not hiring. These one-size-fits-all regulations are hitting workers in their pocketbooks and undercutting the country’s economic recovery, according to the senators.

Participation in the labor force is at the lowest point since 1979. Nearly 20 million workers are unemployed or cannot find the full-time employment they want. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, has changed little, at 3.7 million, and account for 35.8 percent of the unemployed. These numbers are not a welcome sign to anyone looking to find a job.

The senators’ legislation would provide greater clarity and flexibility for small businesses under health care law by repealing the 30 hours per week standard imposed by the health care law and replace it with a 40 hour per week standard for classifying “full-time equivalents.” The bill would also protect companies that have traditionally been counted as small businesses by expanding the scope of the exception in the employer mandate to account for any small business that is defined as a “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.
Portman is also a cosponsor of The Forty Hours Is Full Time Act of 2013 (S.1188), a bipartisan measure, introduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), would change the definition of "full time" in Obamacare from 30 to 40 hours per week.