Bill would increase part-time hours allowed for employees in small townships

Proposed law introduced by state Rep. Kyle Koehler of Springfield.

A Clark County state representative has introduced legislation with the goal of temporarily and immediately increasing the limit of part-time hours people can work for small townships in Ohio.

State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, said that the need for this increase relates to staffing issues within local law enforcement, emergency medical services and fire departments that have resulted from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ohio law prohibits part-time employees from working more than 1,500 hours annually, roughly 28 hours per week.

Koehler’s proposed bill aims to temporarily increase this limit to 38 hours per week for small townships. The increase would be in effect for one year if the bill is passed and that duration would be based on the day the bill goes into effect, according to a release from Koehler’s office.

The legislation was introduced Tuesday. The option it presents to small townships in the state would only be available to those with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees. That measure would factor in both full-time and part-time workers already employed by those townships.

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That stipulation was added in order to remain in compliance with federal Affordable Care Act requirements.

“Persistent staffing issues within local law enforcement, emergency medical services and fire departments have resulted in increased overall response times and large spans of unstaffed hours,” the release said.

Proponents of the bill say that while there are dedicated first responders ready and willing to help, Ohio’s part-time work hour limit prevents these townships from offering their staff more hours. Some have raised concerns regarding the safety of their communities, according to the news release.

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“Our first responders work tirelessly to protect our communities,” Koehler said. “If this issue is not addressed, the part-time employees covering for current absentees will reach their maximum allowable hours by September of this year. The numbers don’t lie. For the safety of our communities, Ohio needs to be proactive.”

This measure would only apply to collective bargaining agreements entered into after the bill’s effective date.

The proposed bill is currently awaiting a committee referral.

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