Virginia government part-time workers limited to 29 hours a week

POSTED: 6:10 PM Feb 13 2013   UPDATED: 3:43 PM Feb 14 2013

Hours are being slashed for part-time workers who are employed by Virginia.

This comes at the request of Governor Bob McDonnell in response to new requirements by the Affordable Care Act as a cost-saving measure. Part-time state employees can now only work 29 hours a week.

News 5 found out how that could impact local agencies.

Part-time state employees in Virginia are losing time, and it's already impacting workers here at home.

Michelle Earl, a spokesperson from Virginia Department of Transportation, told us our VDOT district's state wage earners are already working about three hours less per week than average. "For the 12 counties in Southwest Virginia, we have about 14 wage employees," said Earl.

We're told it's not enough to impact day-to-day operations, but there could be some minor effects. "The majority of these [employees] do help out with snow removal efforts, so if we were to have a major snowstorm, it may see an impact," Earl explained.

Earl added that VDOT also has many contracted employees that are also used during snow removal.

With over 50 part time employees working for the Virginia Highlands Community College, we asked how these new changes will impact them. "We looked at over the last six months how many of them have worked over 30 hours, and thankfully none of them had," said Hara Charlier, Vice President of Instruction and Student Services.

But we found out there's a bigger question at the college when it comes to coming healthcare changes. "We have a large number of adjunct faculty. Nobody really knows what the Affordable Healthcare Act means for people who teach part-time," said Charlier.

But the biggest possible impact may be felt by school systems. "I think we have over 100 in the system and they are part-time workers. Most of them are 36 hours a week," said Mark Lineburg, superintendent for the Bristol, Virginia City Schools.

That means that's a loss of around 700 working hours for Bristol, Virginia schools from support staff that Superintendent Mark Lineburg calls the backbone of their schools. "If you cut their pay, it's going to hurt them and their pocketbooks, and they're going to look for jobs elsewhere," he said. He emphasized school systems want a good workforce for students.

We reached out to the governor's office, and press secretary Jeff Caldwell gave us a statement including, "the governor is incredibly disappointed that this is occurring as a result of the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act. This is a very unfortunate consequence of a law that the governor did not support."