There is a clear business reason for that. That reason is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The PPACA is turning into employment decisions based upon the Three Niners. These Three Nines are 29, 49 & 89 and are used to set the limits on certain compliance limits.
The first 29 is for hours worked. The PPACA has redefined Full Time Employment as 30 hours a week. Employers now have the business driven rational to cap part-time hours at 29 hours. Hail hail the 29’ers. Individually, they will never become BFTEe’rs That’s Benefit Full Time Eligible employees.
The next 49 is for number of employees. The PPACA mandate for employer provided offers of minimum essential coverage kicks in at 50 employees. Once that threshold is crossed, the employer is obligated to offer Minimum Essential Coverage, or pay a penalty. Unless that 50th employee is a Tricare or Veterans Administration benefits eligible Veterans. They don’t count when counting BFTE’ers.
The final 89 is for counted calendar days worked. Weekends are included. This employee is working at least BFTE’ers hours per week, if not RFTE’ers hours. RFTE stands for Real Full Time Equivalent employees. They are full time employees working 40 or more hours per week, perhaps even earning overtime. True hard working American work ethic. Unfortunately, those extra hours count for nothing. The employer is capping their period of employment at less than 90 days. The PPACA imposes a hard limit of benefit eligibility. This hard limit is 90 days. Employment can be terminated at 89 days & benefit eligibility has not occurred.
Back to the internship example mentioned earlier. Twelve weeks at seven days per week equals 84 days. The terms of employment avoid the 90 day hard limit. Benefit eligibility has not been achieved. Th employer has avoided the cost of offering benefits. And interns do not learn through the experience of authentic full time employment.
Anecdotally and intuitively this makes simple business sense. National unemployment numbers do not report on the full number of the under employed. These are those who cannot find Real Full Time Employment. Instead, they may be cobbling enough jobs to get by on while not being eligible for employer provided health insurance.
But what do media reports & early studies of employment say.
From Marketplace.org: The effect of Obamacare on employment. There are several studies cited with mixed & varying analysis.
And it makes the case for more research about what’s happening to those vulnerable workers at the margins.
Another study reports:
We estimate that approximately 1 million additional workers between the ages of 19 and 64 are in IPT employment as a result of the ACA employer mandate.
In the mean time, if you are a college student & looking for a summer internship, expect your work experience to be capped at less than 90 consecutive days.
And that is just nuts.