Part-timers, substitutes seeing hours cut
By will Sentell
Louisiana public school superintendents are having to scramble for substitute teachers or offer costly health insurance to part-time workers because of the Affordable Care Act.
“It absolutely is an issue,” said Patricia Pujol, superintendent of the Ascension Parish school system and former president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.
Worries about running afoul of the Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare” — have forced officials in Ascension Parish to turn the hunt for substitute teachers to a staffing agency to track hours and avoid federal penalties.
Michael Faulk, superintendent of the Central school system, said his district is trying to find new substitutes and he plans to push for legislation next year to increase their ranks.
The Lincoln Parish school district in northeast Louisiana has trimmed weekly hours for 400 substitute teachers and other part-time workers to 28 — two below the cutoff number — and boosted the minimum wage by $2 per hour, to $10.50, because of of the federal health insurance law. The change applies to 400 substitute teachers, maintenance workers, food service employees and paraprofessionals, George Murphy, business manager for the district, said in an email response to questions.
The uproar in education circles, as well as other industries nationwide, stems from a part of the law that requires employers to offer health insurance coverage to part-time workers who are employed 30 hours or more per week, or face federal fines of up to $2,000 per person.
Government Schools Pinched by Obamacare Statewide