For large retail and restaurant chains, the big unknown in the year ahead is how much more they’ll pay for health coverage. Employers with 50 or more workers who put in 30 hours a week will be required to provide health care coverage or pay a fine, under the Affordable Care Act, also called the ACA or Obamacare.
That lower full-time threshold is one of the big issues business groups are trying to negotiate with the Obama administration as the rules are being finalized. Large chains like Dunkin’ Donuts parent firm Dunkin’ Brands argue that full-time status should remain based on the traditional 40-hour work week.
“We believe that the definition of a full-time employee, and the number of hours a full-time employee works each week, should be consistent with existing Federal and State laws, and we have communicated this to the Administration,” explained a Dunkin’ Brands spokesperson in a written statement.
At upscale grocer Whole Foods, workers who put in 30 hours a week already get full health benefits. Still, John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of the grocery chain, said the company may still be forced to reconsider its full-time staffing levels, because the proposed rules include more expensive benefit requirements.
“Say we’re paying $3,200 a year for insurance for somebody, and the new regulations cost us $5,000 to insure somebody. If they work fewer hours, we just saved $5,000 per person” because there is no mandate to provide coverage for part-time workers, he explained.
h/t Yahoo News0