Speaking at a town hall meeting In Iowa earlier this week, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took the time to offer some light shade towards her possible predecessor's signature piece of legislation.

In addressing a question from an audience member about the discrimination felt by part-time employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Clinton responded, "Well, that’s why they're going to part-time. That and also the Affordable Care Act (ACA)." She went on to say, "You know, we've got to change that, because we have built in some unfortunate incentives that discourage full-time employment."

For context, the FMLA, originally passed in 1993, allows employees to take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave from their jobs while retaining their insurance benefits for certain medical reasons (such as pregnancy) and only under certain circumstances. One of these circumstances includes working at least 1,250 hours in the preceding 12 months prior to your leave, which roughly amounts to working an average of 24 hours per week.

The employer mandate from the ACA, on the other hand, requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide affordable health care coverage to 95 percent of their staff members or suffer stiff penalties (the FMLA has a similar eligibility clause but it only requires these 50 or more employees to work within 75 miles of the business, regardless of employment status).

It should be said that the full 50-or-more clause of the ACA will actually kick into gear in 2016, having been delayed in 2014 (this year, the mandate only applied to businesses with 100 or more employees). As such, it’s difficult to tell just how many small businesses and/or employees will be negatively affected by it. In the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working part-time because of economic reasons, such as having their hours cut or failing to find full-time jobs, has shrunk by 765,000, leaving a total of 6.1 million people in that category as of this November.

The slow but steady decline in that figure (as well as unemployment in general) began in earnest with the easing of the Great Repression (2007-09). Of course, that the job market is getting better doesn’t mean there’s no need for greater reform.

"I really worry about it because there is a trend to try and move more and more people into part-time work," Clinton continued on in the video clip. "And sometimes you want to work part-time, it fits into your family, it fits into your life obligations, but sometimes you want to work full-time but you can’t get a full-time job. So I want to look at all the employment rules."

Just as an aside, Clinton’s remarks in that clip were originally presented by the GOP War Room account on YouTube, and have been largely circulating among conservative media outlets. Speaking elsewhere, Clinton has been supportive of the ACA and its overall success. Take that for what you will.

Published by Medicaldaily.com