By Ray Hennessey
July 29, 2013 – When is a win-win actually a lose-lose?
When it comes to the increased trend of adding part-time jobs under Obamacare.
That argument is taken from the position of the employer, usually the small-business owner who has to adjust her growth plans to not cross the 50-worker, full-time threshold that requires companies to provide qualifying health plans to its workers or face the penalties known officially as the “shared responsibility payments.” By hiring more part-timers, in theory, companies save money by paying workers less and not paying for health insurance.
That immediate benefit visited on the employer is easy to understand. But the part-time worker doesn’t necessarily suffer. It’s a more complicated argument, but the flip side is that employees may not want to work full-time hours anyway because, under the economics of Obamacare, they can bring home the same amount of money working part time as they did full time — and still get benefits.
From an employee’s perspective, full-time work traditionally is preferable for two reasons: you make more and you receive benefits. But, under Obamacare, part-time workers conceivably can have the same amount of take-home pay and health insurance to boot, according to University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan, who wrote about the situation recently in The New York Times.