BYU personnel and students are working to sift out the complex Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, and ascertain whether or not part-time BYU employees will be affected.
Under the law, which was enacted on March 23, 2010, BYU will be required to provide health insurance for part-time employees who average working 30 or more hours a week. However, BYU does not offer health insurance to part-time employees, so the number of hours part-time employees can work will have to average 29 hours a week in order to stay under the maximum 1,508 hours per year. This may affect students planning to work 40-hour weeks during spring and summer terms only if these hours would put them over the maximum.
Flake said departments on campus have been notified of the changes the act will cause, and they will make affected employees aware. He said he thinks the act will have very limited effects on student employment.
“Typically, student employees who work the standard 20 or fewer total hours per week (from all campus jobs) during fall and winter semesters should be within the hours limits even if they work 40 hours on campus during spring and summer terms,” Flake said.
According to Flake, BYU employs 14,000 part-time student employees and 1,000 part-time non-student employees, so providing health insurance for these employees would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and would take money that BYU uses to create jobs for students.
Flake said part-time employees will not be able to be employed part-time by any other Church-affiliated employer while employed at BYU.
RoseAnn Benson, a part-time professor of ancient scripture at BYU, said she is okay with not receiving the health benefits of a full-time employee at BYU.
“The act doesn’t affect me at all,” Benson said. “I teach four, sometimes five classes. That’s not even close to 30 hours a week.”
Benson said she doesn’t like the one-size-fits-all aspect of the act and thinks the states should each have their own health care plan due to the unique aspects of the populations.
Jessica Christopherson, a photography major from Mesa, is an office specialist for continuing education financial support. She said the act will limit her work hours for the summer.
“We’re not going to get the hours we need in one job,” Christopherson said. “Students will need to have several jobs because employers are going to hire more part-time workers. This will limit my hours over the summer on campus because I can’t work more than a part-time paid job the whole year.”
Christopherson said she thinks the act will negatively affect students employed by BYU.
“I think that more students will get off-campus jobs so they can have more hours,” Christopherson said. “They’re going to end up juggling two or three jobs instead of just one because they can’t get the hours they need.”
Flake said the rules of the act are complex.
“Student employees who have questions should contact their supervisors for more information,” he said. “Supervisors may contact Human Resource Services for assistance in answering questions.”