BILL REQ. #:  H-3288.4 


State of Washington59th Legislature2006 Regular Session

By Representatives Kenney, Cox, Conway, Hasegawa, Roberts, Appleton, Upthegrove, Morrell, Linville, Hunt, Dickerson and Ormsby

Read first time 01/10/2006.   Referred to Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Education.

     AN ACT Relating to community and technical college part-time academic employee health care benefits; adding a new section to chapter 28B.50 RCW; and creating a new section.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   Part-time academic employees at community and technical colleges are currently eligible for full health care benefits beginning the second quarter of employment at half-time or more of an academic workload, as defined in RCW 28B.50.489. They are also eligible for health benefits over the summer quarter even if they work under half-time, if they have worked half-time or more of an academic workload in three of the four preceding quarters. However, as these rules are currently administered, a part-time academic employee, even if the employee has been in an eligible position for many years, who falls below the half-time threshold in even one quarter, loses coverage for that quarter and the summer quarter as well and is not reinstated until the next quarter when half-time or more employment occurs.
     It is the legislature's intent to provide and maintain a consistent delivery of health benefits to part-time academic employees who have established an ongoing employment relationship with the colleges and to prevent unnecessary and harmful lapses in health benefits coverage. To this end, the legislature intends to establish an additional eligibility status to average academic workload over an academic year, rather than in each quarter. This is not intended to alter the continued eligibility of those who continue to maintain half-time or more in each quarter.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   A new section is added to chapter 28B.50 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) The criteria in this section shall be used to establish a workload pattern for averaging half-time academic workloads over the course of an academic year. The workload pattern shall be used to report eligibility for state-mandated health insurance for part-time academic employees in community and technical colleges.
     (2) A workload pattern shall be established after two consecutive academic years of employment that averages half time or more of an academic workload as determined according to RCW 28B.50.489. In order to qualify for averaging under this section, the employee must be employed at some level in at least three out of four quarters of the academic year.
     (3) Academic employees who have established a workload pattern shall be considered eligible for health care benefits as long as their workload continues to average half time or more when calculated using any three of the four quarters in an academic year.
     (4)(a) An employee meeting the workload pattern eligibility criteria in this section maintains eligibility for health benefits during any one quarter where the workload is less than half time and during the subsequent summer quarter.
     (b) Once an employee has met the initial workload pattern eligibility requirements under (a) of this subsection, if the workload for that employee averages less than fifty percent over an academic year, excluding summers, the workload pattern is broken.
     (5) If an employee loses workload pattern eligibility under this section by virtue of falling below the workload requirement for one full academic year, the employee may self-pay under the terms of the consolidated omnibus budget reconciliation act (COBRA) and have benefits reinstated at the first quarter in which half time or more employment is attained, as long as that occurs within eighteen months. A new workload pattern may then be established.
     (6) This section does not change eligibility for an academic employee who is eligible for any health benefit with or without an established workload pattern, who falls below half time in one quarter, to self-pay under the terms of the consolidated omnibus budget reconciliation act (COBRA) and have benefits reinstated at the first quarter in which half time or more employment is attained, as long as that occurs within eighteen months.
     (7) As used in this section "academic year" means a year starting with the first day of summer quarter and ending with the last day of spring quarter.
     (8) Part-time employees whose employment on the effective date of this section meets the workload pattern established in this section shall be considered to have workload pattern eligibility beginning on the effective date of this section.
     (9) Nothing in this section precludes individuals from being eligible for benefits under other laws and rules that may apply or for which they may be eligible.

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