MTSU limits part-time employee hours

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In an effort to comply with the Affordable Care Act, MTSU and other Tennessee Board of Regents schools will no longer allow part-time employees to accept multiple work assignments from the university.

“This means a student hired as an RA can only work as an RA and cannot also work as an hourly student worker.  An adjunct cannot also be a temporary hourly worker. And a GA cannot also be an adjunct or work as a student hourly worker,” said MTSU President Sidney McPhee in an e-mail.

Because ACA regulations state that employers must extend coverage to employees working more than 30 hours per week, people working multiple part-time jobs on campus may be eligible for full-time benefits. This puts the University in danger of violating the ACA and incurring “devastating” penalties that McPhee estimates would reach as high as $6 million, at a rate of $2,000 per employee per year.

Adjuncts, RAs and GAs are not required under the Fair Labor Standards Act to report their weekly hours because they are not paid by the hour. In addition, one department may be unaware of how much an employee has been working for other departments.

“We made this move because we did not have a system to track and report these hours from job to job on the campus, as well as in jobs that are currently exempt from filling out time cards,” said Andrew Oppmann, Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

MTSU employs approximately 2,900 people part-time, about 285 of whom have had multiple assignments since the beginning of the year, according to Kathy Musselman, Vice President of Human Resources.

According to Oppmann, McPhee is “not satisfied with what we were required to do in order to comply with federal law,” and the president’s executive team is working on alternative solutions.

“First and foremost, we must follow the law,” Oppmann said.

On Friday afternoon, Oppman released a new resolution on the healthcare act via email.

“I am pleased to report that, after extensive feedback from our university divisions and hearing a willingness to assist in monitoring our part-time employees, we will develop processes that will continue to allow them to have multiple work assignments with accountability measures in place,” he said in the email. “The Human Resource Services office will send a follow-up communication to department heads providing additional information on reporting responsibilities.”

Oppman also included in the email that the new plan should minimize the impact on university staff.

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To contact news editor Meagan White, email

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