Rep. Norcross and Sen. Markey Ask Treasury Department to Secure Quality Health Care for School Support Staff
Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) and U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) led a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking her to close a loophole in Treasury regulations that would extend health benefits provided under the Accordable Care Act (ACA) to support staff employed by contractors of America’s schools.
“We write to urge you to take further action to ensure non-teacher staff in schools—such as custodians, school bus drivers, security guards, school nurses, cafeteria workers, and others—have access to quality health coverage,” said the letter writers.
Today, school employees qualify as full-time – and thus earn health care benefits under the ACA – so long as they work 30 hours or more per week based on the 9-month school year calendar. However, support staff who are contracted to provide the same services to a school have their hours calculated based on the 12-month calendar. The result is that a school bus driver or cafeteria worker employed directly by a school will earn benefits, while a school bus driver or cafeteria worker employed by a contracting company that does the same job and works the same hours does not.
“Considering the dire shortages of non-teacher staff in public schools, it is more important than ever to ensure these jobs have good benefits, such as health care, to attract and retain quality workers,” the lawmakers continued.
The letter highlights that the Treasury Department committed in 2015 to establish regulations that would have closed the ACA loophole but has not yet followed through.
“Teamster school bus drivers and other school employees are being denied health care coverage due to this ACA loophole,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “The Teamsters join with Rep. Norcross and Sen. Markey in demanding that the Treasury Department do the right thing and fix this now!”
Read the full letter here. The bicameral letter was signed by a total of 75 Democratic lawmakers.