Obamacare prompts YSU to cap hours for faculty

By Denise Dick



Semester hours for part-time Youngstown State University faculty members will be capped at 24 to comply with provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.

Kevin Reynolds, chief human- resources officer, sent a memorandum Thursday to department heads and deans about the change, noting those part-time faculty members who do not comply will not be asked to teach in the next academic year.

With implementation of the law, the Internal Revenue Service defines “full time” as an employee who works at least 30 hours per week. The number of hours worked determines whether a faculty member is eligible for health care from the university.

Teri Riley, associate provost, said that although YSU employs 813 part-time faculty, only about 10 of them exceed the 24-hour teaching mark. There may be some, however, who work in other capacities across campus.

Effective this academic year, part-time faculty members won’t be permitted to teach more than 24 semester hours over fall, spring and summer. If a part-time faculty member exceeds the 24 hours over the three semesters, he or she won’t be allowed to teach during the next full year, the memo says.

“There will be no exceptions to the 24-hour limit,” it says.

For part-time faculty also working in other areas on campus, their total clock hours will be limited to 1,512.

“When making part-time assignments for spring and summer 2013, chairs must take into consideration the number of hours each part-time faculty member taught in fall 2012,” the memo says.

Although the health care law takes effect in 2014, it will be based on hours worked during this academic year, said Ron Cole, YSU spokesman.

Reynolds said the issue is something that universities across the country are grappling with.

There’s nothing that establishes how semester hours should be converted to clock hours.

Reynolds said the Colleges and University Professional Association for Human Resources has asked the U.S. Treasury Department for guidance and clarification on that issue.

YSU converted workload hours to clock hours using 63 as a multiplier; the formula is based on a percentage of hours of a full-time faculty member.

“For example, if a part-time faculty member teaches 6 hours during the fall and 6 hours during the spring, that load would equate to 756 clock hours (6 + 6 = 12 x 63 = 756),” Reynolds’ memo says.

“Therefore, that part-time faculty member could still work for 756 hours in other jobs (1,512 - 756 = 756).”

Meanwhile, at a meeting Thursday of YSU trustees’ Academic Quality and Student Success Committee, the panel approved a resolution of support for collaboration with Humility of Mary Health Partners to work together to raise money and explore the possibility of a multiuse facility for clinical and medical education including classrooms, labs and practice learning clinics.

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