Sweetwater County School District #1 extends work year to reduce impact of Affordable Care Act on employees

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ROCK SPRINGS — In a series of meetings taking place on May 15th and May 16th, Sweetwater County School District Number One began discussions with staff impacted by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The implementation of the ACA is occurring after over a year of research and deliberation as to how best to meet the requirements of the law and minimize the impact on the District’s educational mission. To comply with the ACA, the district has notified the impacted staff members whose weekly work schedules will be reduced to 29 hours (from up to 34 hours previously). Additionally, staff have been told to anticipate extended employment opportunities to help reduce the “wage loss” and of the reduction in weekly hours. In circumstances where staff are full-year employees and being reduced, the district will work to back-fill work loads with new part-time employees.

In total, over 250 employees will be reduced from 1 up to 5 hours per week in compliance with the Affordable Care Act beginning in the fall of 2014. The cost to add all impacted part-time employees and substitute teachers to the District’s health insurance plan was prohibitively expensive requiring an additional expenditure of 2.7 million dollars annually. Employees across all hourly employment groups will be required to work no more than the maximum of the 29 hours established in the law. Additionally, health insurance offerings cannot favor one employee group over another. The District has worked to establish a baseline, therefore all impacted employees will be treated the same according to the law.

Sweetwater County School District Number One recognizes that its employees are at the heart of all aspects of improving the District’s student achievement. Additionally, the District understands the difficult nature of this Federal legislation and will continue to pursue options to minimize the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the District’s educational mission.

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-From a SWCSD#1 press release