The University of Wisconsin at Madison will limit student workers to a weekly maximum of 29 hours in order to comply with a requirement of the Affordable Care Act, according to The Capital Times.
The health-care law requires large employers like the university to provide basic health care to employees working an average of 30 hours a week or more. The change in campus policy, announced in an email in July, means the university will not have to provide health care to its student employees and nonstudents working part time. Some students, speaking to the Times, said the reduction in hours would force them to find a second job and further disturb their studies.
A spokesman for the university, John Lucas, told the newspaper in an email that the institution did not have the ability to provide student employees with health insurance under state law, and that most students are covered under their parents’ insurance or the university’s student health-insurance plan. However, he added, the university is “concerned about the hours cutback” because many students rely on the pay to defray educational costs.
In response to protests, the university pledged in February to increase the minimum wage of student employees from $7.25 to $9 an hour starting on September 1.
Other college campuses have also ruffled a few feathers in response to the act’s requirements. In August 2015 the University of Missouri at Columbia slashed graduate students’ health-insurance subsidies following guidance from the Internal Revenue Service. The subsidies were reinstated a week later, after students protested.