Teachers not full-time employees?

The Majesty of the Law, 2012

Someone who should know, not just a random guy bloviating in the coffee shop, told me teachers are not full-time employees under Obamacare, and so the school district we were discussing had fewer than fifty full-time employees, et cetera. Of course, the teachers will continue to have health insurance in their contracts. And of course, if it does become an issue a Judge will ultimately decide. But it reinforces Nancy Pelosi’s observation that she had to pass the bill to know what was in it.

I do have some doubts about this. It seems like schoolteachers not being full-time workers is contrary to the understanding of the college administrators who cut the hours of adjunct faculty to put them under twenty-five hours per week to avoid Obamacare. But really, there’s no way to tell for sure.

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Now I could trawl through the web and find any number of clear unambiguous statements that public school teachers are full-time employees, or that they are not. I could even read a copy of the actual bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That would tell me exactly nothing. In America today you might be “legally” part-time even though you work fifty hours a week, or “legally” full-time even though you only work twenty-five hours a week. You might be a full-time employee for the purposes of one law, and unemployed for the purposes of another law. The law could say clearly and unambiguously that teachers are part-time, and the judge could rule that they work full time. What’s “legally” true is whatever the judge says; what’s “legally” true no longer has much connection with reality.

It seems like Congress would find it less painful simply to pass a bill that’s a collection of random words – or letters, if words are too constraining. Title it “An Act for Amelioration of Problems,” and fill it with greeking. The Republicans can say it’s a tax cut for all Americans. The Democrats can say it’s a tax increase on the rich. They can both say it balances the budget and eliminates the deficit. The courts will tell us what we must do to avoid a fine and prison.


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