Universities nationwide limit student employment to comply with Obamacare

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • Middle Tennessee State University has banned taking on two campus jobs because it could result in exceeding a 29 hour cap on employment hours.
  • At least 111 colleges and universities have limited adjunct professor course loads or capped student or adjunct faculty work hours.
  • Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is restricting student work because of compliance issues associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare.

    In an email last week, MTSU President Sidney McPhee explained that “due to our interpretation of the reporting requirements of ACA,” graduate assistants, adjunct faculty members, and resident assistants are barred from working on-campus jobs that exceed 29 hours of work per week.

    "[E]ffective beginning with the fall semester, we will no longer allow part-time employees, or those receiving monthly stipends from the university, to accept multiple work assignments on campus."   

    Now, they cannot take on multiple campus jobs.

    “[E]ffective beginning with the fall semester, we will no longer allow part-time employees, or those receiving monthly stipends from the university, to accept multiple work assignments on campus," the email stated.

    McPhee noted that violations of the law “could add up as high as $6 million” in penalties.

    The Daily News Journal reports that graduate assistants are now restricted from picking up research work funded through grants to the university.

    Michael Fletcher, a Ph. D. History student, told the Daily News Journal that his job as a graduate assistant, a position that pays only $14,000 annually, requires a 20-hour work week, but he is unable to attain on-campus grant-funded research positions like many assistants do.

    “Last spring because of the ACA, the HR department issued a policy that the most we could work is 29 hours, which would be 9 hours above our assistantships. Now they're saying we can't do that anymore," Fletcher told the Daily News Journal.

    As Campus Reform previously reported, the University of Kansas has reduced the number of hours student employees can work from 30 hours per week to 20, a move to ensure compliance with the ACA.

    “The revised [KU] policy seeks to balance the necessity for students to make academic progress while managing potential fiscal liabilities with ACA,” Diane Goddard, KU vice provost for administration and finance wrote in an email early this month.

    Capping hours associated with on-campus employment is quickly becoming the norm. Since 2012, at least 111 colleges and universities have limited adjunct professor course loads, capped student employment hours, or reduced hours for part-time faculty according to a list compiled by Investor’s Business Daily.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @CalebBonham





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