Florida’s St. Petersburg College and Hillsborough Community College announced they would be cutting adjunct faculty members’ hours in an effort to prevent them from qualifying for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
“The bottom line here is that institutions are caught between a rock and a hard place,” David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and a policy analyst with the American Association of Community Colleges told The Tampa Tribune.
Hillsborough Community College employs 272 full-time faculty and 1,490 part-time workers. Though the school has not yet compiled a list of how many part-time employees work more than 30 hours, the Tampa Tribune reports it would cost the college $863,500 to provide its part-time workers with healthcare.
St. Petersburg College boasts 325 full-time faculty and 1,406 part-time employees, and it is estimated the school would shell out $777,600 to provide insurance for those working more than 30 hours each week.
“We know that individuals need health insurance, and we expect that the state is going to provide for that. That dialogue is taking place away from us. We simply are not in a position to expand greatly what we’re already doing in that regard,” William Law, president of St. Petersburg College, said in May.
But the decision to cut hours doesn’t apply to only these two Florida schools.
According to Richard Mercadante, head of St. Petersburg College’s Faculty Governance Organization, most state-funded colleges are choosing to lessen faculty’s hours to below the 30-hour threshold as opposed to offering healthcare to those part-time employees working more.
Though the Obama administration announced earlier this month they would delay the vague employer mandate by one year, many businesses and institutions are still choosing to cut employees’ hours, with supermarket giant Wegmans being the latest to take such action.
And although the schools have an additional year to meet the healthcare law’s requirements, both Hillsborough Community College and St. Petersburg College have opted to start the 30-hour maximum for adjunct faculty this fall.