The University of Wisconsin’s recent limit on the number of hours a student can work during the week is absolutely detrimental to the students who need those extra hours the most.

Not so long ago, students across UW System schools could work as many hours as they pleased while employed by the school system and no one would tell them otherwise as long as they weren’t flirting with overtime. But now, the Affordable Care Act, instilled by President Barack Obama and the Federal Government, has changed all that.

The UW System has recently cut the number of hours a student can work per week down to 29.

UW student employee hours cut under Affordable Care Act regulationsLooking to engage students on campus in wider labor issues, Student Labor Act Coalition kicked off a campaign Tuesday to raise Read…

But it’s not because the ACA says “don’t work more than 30 hours a week.”

The problem is that the ACA requires employers, by law, to give healthcare to employees who average at least 30 hours on the clock per week, and I guess it’s just too dang complicated for UW to offer health insurance to its student employees because many of them are already covered by their parents’ plan.

Thus, the hour limit was put in place.

To be honest, a 29 hour cap is actually a pretty solid amount of hours, considering the average work week is supposed to be 40 hours a week. I worked for UW for a while and I’ll tell you that I definitely tried to only work enough to fulfill the minimum weekly hour requirement.

But the moral of that story is I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to truly rely on a paying job to finance this whole college fiasco.

University’s cap on employee hours hurts students who need the most helpThe University of Wisconsin’s recent limit on the number of hours a student can work during the week is absolutely Read…

The fact of the matter is the students who are working anywhere close to 29 hours a week during the school year are the ones who need that income and those hours the most. By limiting the hours these students are able to work, the UW System is taking away possibly the only thing that allows them the ability to attend school.

So, I guess it’s time to pick your poison, UW: let these students work as many hours as they need to afford school and face the wrath of the ACA or just kiss their tuition goodbye.

Speaking of the ACA, the real issue here is the fact that the ACA forces employers to provide health insurance to those who are already covered by a plan — seems just a bit redundant to me.

Here’s a wild idea: If someone is already covered through another plan, then providing health care benefits shouldn’t be required. Let’s just say an employee decides they want their employer’s health insurance instead of their own, then they should be able to drop their plan and accept their employer’s plan under the ACA.

A living wage: UW student workers fight for higher compensationDanny Levandoski, a political science and history junior at University of Wisconsin, recalled a time when he struggled to make ends Read…

I’m no expert, but that doesn’t sound terribly outrageous to me.

But unless this stumbling opinion piece you’re reading manages to make its way to Washington D.C., I imagine it’ll be rather tough to change the ACA, and I definitely don’t see it happening anytime soon.

So, at the end of the day, the UW System kind of just gave a big shrug, said “sorry ‘bout it” and turned its back on the students who needed those hours the most by implementing the hour cap.

So much for hard work leading a person to a better education, I guess. But at least UW isn’t losing money in fines because that’d be just tragic.

Phil Michaelson ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering.