FedSmith.com Users Overwhelmingly Support a 40 Hour Work Week

By on February 5, 2015 in Current Events with 28 Comments

Results from one of our recent surveys show that the majority of FedSmith.com users are overwhelmingly in favor of having the definition of full time employment remain set at 40 hours per week.

I posed the question to our users in response to legislation that recently passed the House that would change the definition of full time employment under Obamacare from 30 hours back to 40. Under Obamacare, the law’s definition of full-time workers who must be offered employer-provided health insurance are those who work at least 30 hours per week. I noted that this begged a broader question: what do you think should be considered working “full time?”

The results of the survey broke down as follows:

How many hours should be considered a “full time” work week?

  • 50: 1%
  • 40: 75%
  • 30: 22%
  • 20: 2%

Other responses to this question ranged from as little as 1 hour per week to as much as 37 hours per week.

Respondents left no doubt that they want the federal government to be in charge of setting the definition of a full time work week. 61% of respondents said that they think the federal government should be responsible for setting this standard, while 12% said state governments. 24% thought it should be up to the employing companies/organizations and only 4% said it should be up to the individual workers.

Some additional responses to the question of who should set the standard included the following:

  • Congress
  • Unions
  • Both individuals and employers
  • A panel with reps from both federal and state governments as well as private companies
  • The Department of Labor
  • The voting public

The topic stirred a lively debate as indicated by the comments left on the original post. You can read all of the comments there, but a small sampling is included below.

User Dakota15 said, “Where did 30 hours come from? It seems rather arbitrary when historically full-time has meant 40 hours per week for both benefits and pay. As a salaried federal employee, my feeling is that if the government wants to redefine full-time to 30 hours per week, then I should only have to work 30 hours per week to retain my current pay.”

User gholfdude said, “Want to employ more people? Make the work week, for benefits and as a general rule, 30 hours. Anything over that is overtime and paid accordingly. So for every 3 people employed now, you would have 4 people employed…of course your weekly take-home pay would be reduced, but so would everyone’s and over time you could pretty much wipe out unemployment.”

User Rikker59 said, “For benefits, I think the 30 hour work week is fine. I also think the federal government needs to set the level so as to have uniform standards across the country.”

User Jeffrey Fox said, “You are going to have 2 definitions for the full-time worker, one for benefits, such as healthcare, and one for normal hours, such as the 40 hour work week. Obamacare has the definition of a full-time worker set at 30 hours. Historically, 40 hours has been the hours of a full-time worker. But unless the hours for healthcare are set at 1 hour, the employers will keep reducing employees weekly hours to keep it below the definition of “full-time” worker as stated in the law. Congress will set the hours at whatever will get them the most campaign contributions.”

Have other thoughts on the subject? Be sure to share them in the comments below. Thanks to all of our users who took the time to share their feedback in this latest survey.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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