Are concerns about the requirements of the new federal health insurance law causing more employers to shift to part-time workers? A new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) finds there is no definitive answer to that question yet—but notes that a shift to part-time employment was underway before the law was passed and that future trends are likely to depend more on factors such as the economy and unemployment rates.

As written, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requires that employers with 50 or more full-time workers pay a penalty if they fail to provide health coverage to full-time workers in 2014, which has raised concern that employers may respond by cutting back on health coverage for part-time workers or by increasing the proportion of part-time workers employed. The Obama administration has subsequently indicated that it would delay enforcement of the terms of this “employer mandate.”

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