In order to bypass the Affordable Health Care Act, the city of Fairlawn is dropping part-time employees to less than 30 hours a week. It also passed a temporary operating budget for 2013.
The ordinance, which was passed at Monday night’s City Council meeting, alters the previous part-time status of 35 hours.
According to city officials, they needed to make the changes before the health care legislation takes effect in 2014.
“It will require us in 2014 to provide health insurance to those employees that work 30 hours or more,” said Jacob Kaufman, the city’s financial analyst.
Mayor William Roth said cutting hours for part-time workers wasn’t an easy decision, but added it was a necessary one. He said the Affordable Health Care Act is a law some people are still trying to understand.
“I don’t like to cut hours like that,” Roth said. “But the bottom line is that as a city we cannot pay for part-time benefits.”
Roth said the reduction in hours is “one of the unintended consequences” of the Affordable Health Care Act.
So far, none of the employees have expressed any disappointment with the pending changes.
“I really haven’t thought about it too much,” said Michele Williams, assistant parks and recreation director. “But maybe once it actually happens I might feel differently.”
Williams acknowledged she may have some concerns once her paychecks shrink. She added she has no qualms with the new ordinance.
Ed Riegler, the city’s law director, said at a Committee of the Whole meeting that the city’s part-time workers have accepted the decision.
“They all understand the reason for this change,” Riegler said.
Kaufman said the city had done a couple of studies in 2011 and 2012 to determine how many part-time employees it had. There were only two each year. Kaufman said the legislation will affect too many residents. A few positions impacted by the decision include a part-time police clerk, a records custodian, an assistant parks and recreation director and the clerk of courts.