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Is this common in all businesses now?


Luanne
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Yes, my part time job now has a hard limit of 29 hours per week that wasn't there before. As I understand it Obamacare requires that health insurance be covered for all employees working over 30 hours per week, and many employers can't afford that.

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Less experienced workers are cheaper for companies. However, not everyone does it.... dh's company has not cut hours, and has hired very recently. The only companies I know of around here that are doing it are doing it the less skilled areas, where training can happen fast.

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I don't know about *all* businesses or even just because of Obamacare. DH had this happen when he worked overnights at Target (long before Obama was even president). He wasn't even anywhere near 40 hours, but they dropped him lower than 20.

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I don't know about *all* businesses or even just because of Obamacare. DH had this happen when he worked overnights at Target (long before Obama was even president). He wasn't even anywhere near 40 hours, but they dropped him lower than 20.

 

 

Pretty much all of the fast food and chain stores around here have done primarily part timers for eons here.... so they wouldn't have to pay benefits, benefits were mostly attained by managers.... long before our current administration.

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Pretty much all of the fast food and chain stores around here have done primarily part timers for eons here.... so they wouldn't have to pay benefits, benefits were mostly attained by managers.... long before our current administration.

 

This.

 

And I guess for me the issue is why folks seem so keen to blame the administration and give the companies who do this a free pass. Businesses have been externalizing costs for a very long time so that they can maximize profits - any recent attempts and finger pointing at the PPACA is just a convenient scapegoat.

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My mom is dealing with this now too. It just started at the end of last year and has gotten worse this year. She is in retail. The only real benefit they get is insurance, so it makes sense that the new law is the reason, but no one has come out and said that yet.

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Yes, my part time job now has a hard limit of 29 hours per week that wasn't there before. As I understand it Obamacare requires that health insurance be covered for all employees working over 30 hours per week, and many employers can't afford that.

I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be forgoing health care and paying fines.
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I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be forgoing health care and paying fines.

 

 

I think so too. What am I fundamentally not understanding here? Obamacare is supposed to make health insurance attainable to all, right? So why are they imposing fines for people who can't afford it in the first place?

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Under ACA, isn't it that the total # of part time employees still adds up to so many FT slots? This has come up here a few times, and I know I've read that it was put in place to try to dissuade employers from cutting 40 hour employees to 20 hours, for example. (under ACA I believe 2 20 hour a week employees still equal 1 40 hr employee in terms of obligation to provide health insurance coverage)

 

Large retailers like Walmart have been doing this for ages, way before ACA was passed. Lots of other companies have used this model in the last decade plus, as far as I'm aware.

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Under ACA, isn't it that the total # of part time employees still adds up to so many FT slots? This has come up here a few times, and I know I've read that it was put in place to try to dissuade employers from cutting 40 hour employees to 20 hours, for example. (under ACA I believe 2 20 hour a week employees still equal 1 40 hr employee in terms of obligation to provide health insurance coverage)

 

Large retailers like Walmart have been doing this for ages, way before ACA was passed. Lots of other companies have used this model in the last decade plus, as far as I'm aware.

 

No. Aggregating part-timers only matters for purposes of counting whether an employer is subject to the mandate in the first place. Once you are clearly in that camp, in that you have more than 50 employees or full-time equivalents, the mandate applies only to full-timers.

 

I am an employee benefits attorney, and there are scads of employers doing exactly this--managing their part-time employees' hours to keep them below 30. The rest are considering dropping benefits entirely because it is cheaper to pay the penalty than to provide health insurance.

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I have a friend who has had a part time job in a clothing store for many years now (going back to the last administration). She works about 20-25 hours a week--fewer during the holiday season! This seems counter intuitive but the store hires a number of seasonal staff, giving them each about 20 hours a week. The store does not want any of their year round part timers to approach 40 or whatever the magic number of hours happens to be when the employer must pay overtime or offer benefits.

 

I'll join the chorus singing that this has been the operating practice for sometime now.

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The rest are considering dropping benefits entirely because it is cheaper to pay the penalty than to provide health insurance.

 

 

Can you explain why an employer would choose to drop health insurance now and pay a penalty? How is that "cheaper," since in the past that employer could have dropped it any time w/o a penalty? Obviously the employer hasn't chosen the "cheaper" route before.

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The rest are considering dropping benefits entirely because it is cheaper to pay the penalty than to provide health insurance.

 

My husband's employer is dropping all hourly insurance policies because their insurer won't offer those plans anymore because they don't meet the guidelines.

 

Can you explain why an employer would choose to drop health insurance now and pay a penalty? How is that "cheaper," since in the past that employer could have dropped it any time w/o a penalty? Obviously the employer hasn't chosen the "cheaper" route before.

 

In the case I mentioned, it's because the added price for a policy that lines up with the new guidelines is substantially higher. They were trying to offer what they could before, but the new policies are just too expensive.

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Well....as a small business owner, I can tell you why WE hire a lot of part time employees. It has nothing to do with Obamacare. It's to help cover shifts for when people call in. I would love to supply healthcare as a benefit, but the facts on the ground are such, that I have to hire more part timers in order to have a full staff to actually work. I have tried hiring people full time in the past, and when one person calls in sick/personal day, it's an incredible burden on the entire team, and I was paying overtime. The workload is such, that hiring an additional full timer employee didn't make financial sense, nor did we have enough work for an additional full timer.

 

Currently, our full time employees are managers. Everyone else is part time.

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Can you explain why an employer would choose to drop health insurance now and pay a penalty? How is that "cheaper," since in the past that employer could have dropped it any time w/o a penalty? Obviously the employer hasn't chosen the "cheaper" route before.

 

 

Two reasons:

1. Basic plans that an employer might have provided before are now much more expensive and/or downright illegal. There is no such thing as a major medical policy any more, and major medical is better than no medical. Many part-time employees were covered by policies that are no longer legal, even if they were not major medical policies.

2. The "exchanges" should be available so everyone can purchase their own policies. So the employer can say, "You are on your own; buy an exchange policy," with a straight face. He pays a $2000 tax, and it costs you four five times that to buy a policy, but everyone he competes with for employees is doing the same thing.

 

 

 

 

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I was just trying to see how many posts before someone blames Obama. Less than I thought, it seems lol.

 

I guess no one ever suffered from forced hour cuts before he took office and came up with the AHCA.

 

So because layoffs have happened before in history, those going on now cannot possibly be PPACA-related? Pretty compelling argument.

 

 

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So because layoffs have happened before in history, those going on now cannot possibly be PPACA-related? Pretty compelling argument.

 

Um, no. But the original post was literally a couple of sentences and contained nothing that would logically lead to direct 'The Health Care Act! It is all Obama's fault!' within minutes, though I wouldn't be surprised if that was the response the OP was looking for. Hence my sarcasm that hour cutting did not exist prior to Obama and AHCA. Could be the reason, but is that the *most* likely explanation or the most logical?

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I wasn't even thinking about Obamacare. His work has been screwy all the way around since a new boss took over. I don't blame anything except the inexperience of his new boss.

 

Ellie .. :chillpill:

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Well, I work in the employee benefits field and plenty of companies who have always been happy to offer health insurance are now considering dropping it simply because of the increase in costs that Obamacare brings with it. So while this type of thing has always existed, I think we will see even more if it in the near future. But this is just my experience.

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Businesses have been avoiding hiring people full time for years to avoid giving them benefits, long before President Obama was even running for office. My mom talked about it when I was a kid.

 

I read an awful article some months back, I think in the New York Times, about retail places like Jambo Juice that tightly schedule employees based on a really careful analysis of when they get busy, so people will be called to work for, say, two hours instead of the more typical four hour or longer shift, and call them like that day. It is frightening to consider what the future holds....

 

By the way, the idea of having more healthy people pay into the pool, to lower the costs, so that not just the old and sick are covered, is a Republican idea that Democrats adopted.

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The Health Care Act may not have started it, but it took a bad problem and made it worse. Much worse.

 

It used to be 40 hours/week you got healthcare. So a business could hire you for 39 hours a week and not have to pay benefits. Obamacare changes that to 30 hours a week and you have to offer benefits. So now everyone is getting cut to 29 or less hours. It's not new, but it is resulting in less hours to work at one job. People can often make ends meet at 39 hours, it's much harder at 20 or 29...

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Not to toot my own horn, but I have always worked at low paying jobs that offer little to no benefits, including big companies and small. Like others have said, this is nothing new. I laugh at some of these companies that are saying they're going to only hire PT people w/no benefits now b/c of ACA as if they haven't been doing just that for years and years!

 

The only time I've had steady, regular health coverage were the two years I spent in the Navy. Oh, and the seven years after I got out that my husband remained enlisted.

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I wasn't even thinking about Obamacare. His work has been screwy all the way around since a new boss took over. I don't blame anything except the inexperience of his new boss.

 

Ellie .. :chillpill:

 

 

In a post above you mentioned that your dad was 77. Could his age have anything to do with the drop in hours? I'd find it unusual for a senior citizen to be working anywhere near full-time hours. Also, more part-time employees = more people in work of some kind. It isn't great, but some work must be better than no work. Neither dh or I have been able to find full-time work since he was laid-off 3 years ago. We just pick up whatever hours we can & pray that that's enough. Dh turns 63 this year & we know his age has some to do with his trouble getting a full-time job. JMHO

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Businesses have been avoiding hiring people full time for years to avoid giving them benefits, long before President Obama was even running for office. My mom talked about it when I was a kid.

 

I read an awful article some months back, I think in the New York Times, about retail places like Jambo Juice that tightly schedule employees based on a really careful analysis of when they get busy, so people will be called to work for, say, two hours instead of the more typical four hour or longer shift, and call them like that day. It is frightening to consider what the future holds....

This reminds me of a situation that goes back in time. A family member began working as a bank teller when her son started attending school. It was a part time position, three days a week. Then some bean counter had the idea of scheduling her work to coincide only with the busy times. So she was needed when the bank opened. She was then sent home and asked to return for two or three hours in the late afternoon. She had the same number of hours when she worked three days but now she was expected to come and go over the course of a day and work all five days. It was crazy! She quit when her now 30 year old son was a high school student. So obviously the exploitation of part time workers has been going on for a while.

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In a post above you mentioned that your dad was 77. Could his age have anything to do with the drop in hours? I'd find it unusual for a senior citizen to be working anywhere near full-time hours. Also, more part-time employees = more people in work of some kind. It isn't great, but some work must be better than no work. Neither dh or I have been able to find full-time work since he was laid-off 3 years ago. We just pick up whatever hours we can & pray that that's enough. Dh turns 63 this year & we know his age has some to do with his trouble getting a full-time job. JMHO

 

 

I might think that would have something to do with it, but no one was getting anywhere near 40 hours before and EVERYONE is getting even less now. It is affecting everyone at the company he is working for, not just him.

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OP, is it possible his hours were cut because they changed operating hours and don't have 40 hrs available? For example, it they are only open 4 day/wk and 8 hrs/day, that's only 32 hrs at best.

 

We own a small business and use part-time techs. We don't do it to avoid any fines (we're too small for that anyway). It's because quite often we have 3 clients needing help on the same day and we can serve all of those clients on the same day with 2 part-tme techs but not with one full-timer. We could keep one full-timer busy but not serve all of our clients well, or use 2 part-timers and meet all of their needs within the same number of billable hours.

 

The other company I work for doesn't fall under the AHA either (under 50 employees) but uses several part-time employees (including me) because there are times of the day and days of the week where we need 3 employees in a clinic to serve the patients and others where we need 6.

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To clarify something that has been stated above several times: businesses were never, before PPACA, required by the government to provide benefits to full-time employees (except in Hawaii). No one was kept part-time before so that the employer did not have to provide insurance. Overtime is an exception, of course, but that is not a benefit; that is direct compensation.

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It used to be 40 hours/week you got healthcare. So a business could hire you for 39 hours a week and not have to pay benefits. Obamacare changes that to 30 hours a week and you have to offer benefits. So now everyone is getting cut to 29 or less hours. It's not new, but it is resulting in less hours to work at one job. People can often make ends meet at 39 hours, it's much harder at 20 or 29...

 

Nope........ businesses were never required to provide health care to full time employees. It was a benefit to attract good workers. The law changed that, so it will now be required... Some companies will choose to cut employees, others will not. Some will find the cuts weren't worth it when they see what it does for it's workforce..... so many what if's but what happens in the long term won't be seen for a long time.

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Not to toot my own horn, but I have always worked at low paying jobs that offer little to no benefits, including big companies and small. Like others have said, this is nothing new. I laugh at some of these companies that are saying they're going to only hire PT people w/no benefits now b/c of ACA as if they haven't been doing just that for years and years!

 

 

Yep.... some are saying it's ACA but it's been their business practice for eons......

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This reminds me of a situation that goes back in time. A family member began working as a bank teller when her son started attending school. It was a part time position, three days a week. Then some bean counter had the idea of scheduling her work to coincide only with the busy times. So she was needed when the bank opened. She was then sent home and asked to return for two or three hours in the late afternoon. She had the same number of hours when she worked three days but now she was expected to come and go over the course of a day and work all five days. It was crazy! She quit when her now 30 year old son was a high school student. So obviously the exploitation of part time workers has been going on for a while.

 

 

 

When I hostessed in a restaurant, I had crazy hours like that... 11am-1:30pm and 5pm-8pm (later on the weekend). This was in the mid 1980s.

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To clarify something that has been stated above several times: businesses were never, before PPACA, required by the government to provide benefits to full-time employees (except in Hawaii). No one was kept part-time before so that the employer did not have to provide insurance. Overtime is an exception, of course, but that is not a benefit; that is direct compensation.

 

 

Exactly!

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To clarify something that has been stated above several times: businesses were never, before PPACA, required by the government to provide benefits to full-time employees (except in Hawaii). No one was kept part-time before so that the employer did not have to provide insurance. Overtime is an exception, of course, but that is not a benefit; that is direct compensation.

 

:iagree:

 

And from a different POV, if our (former) full-time employees didn't have to take off work for every. little. thing. and were more reliable, we wouldn't have gone to a part time schedule. I can't tell you how many times we had employees calling in because they were feeling "burned out" or "needed a personal day". I had one guy who was always scheduling appointments on the day after his day off. When I asked him why he didn't schedule these appointments on his day off, he replied, "because that's MY time". Umm....yeah, let's just put the added burden of your absence on the rest of the team instead. Our full time employees worked normal 8-hour days (so no chopped up schedule as some have indicated above), 40 hours a week.

 

Since going to the part-time model, we always have coverage. If someone needs a day off, it's no big deal - they can ask someone who needs/wants the hours to cover for them. If an employee shows ambition, or has the reputation of being dependable, then we offer them full-time when a position opens up.

 

We also use our software to determine how many people are needed during certain hours of the day. Statistically, we have three 'rushes' throughout the day. Our shortest shift to work is a 4-hour window. And it most definitely is during one of the three busy times of the day, and/or an hour before the rush so they can give the others a lunch break. To bring people into work and not have anything for them to do is a waste of money (for us) and time (for them).

 

We are a very small business. We have 5 full time employees, and 10 part time employees (plus me and Dh).

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Yes, my part time job now has a hard limit of 29 hours per week that wasn't there before. As I understand it Obamacare requires that health insurance be covered for all employees working over 30 hours per week, and many employers can't afford that.

 

This is exactly the reason. It is happening to loads of people around here. 29 hours or less.

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To clarify something that has been stated above several times: businesses were never, before PPACA, required by the government to provide benefits to full-time employees (except in Hawaii). No one was kept part-time before so that the employer did not have to provide insurance. Overtime is an exception, of course, but that is not a benefit; that is direct compensation.

 

 

Nope........ businesses were never required to provide health care to full time employees. It was a benefit to attract good workers. The law changed that, so it will now be required... Some companies will choose to cut employees, others will not. Some will find the cuts weren't worth it when they see what it does for it's workforce..... so many what if's but what happens in the long term won't be seen for a long time.

 

 

 

You're right. I was thinking of union mandates that set hours/benefits! :banghead:

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As a small business employer, we have chosen to go to primarily FT staff, with PT'ers only for a few entry level slots (99% college kids). WE do this b/c even though ours is a low wage field (veterinary hospital), we value the experienced and well skilled staff. SO, we have 7-8 FT staff and a handful of PT staff. However, most other vet hospitals tend to staff with mostly PT'ers, and that was actually the case when we bought the practice 8 years ago. So, we've seen it done both ways.

 

From our perspective, the benefits of mostly PT staff are:

 

+ COVERAGE! If you have 16 25 hr/wk staff instead of 10 40hr/wk, those 16 staffers all have another 15 hr/wk availability w/o going into OT, plus, many/most of them are desperate for more hours. SO, when you need coverage, plenty of those 16 are happy to take more hours.

+ OT AVOIDANCE. OT is very expensive. Some businesses obsess about it.

+ PERFORMANCE. Those PT'ers are afraid of having their hours cut, and know you can cover their hours in a heartbeat. If you are tightly staffed with FT'ers, they each know that you will be hard up if you fire them or send them home.

+ BENEFITS are expensive. PT'ers don't get them.

 

Now, as I said, we've decided to go to FT staffing, and we are happy with this. For us, the benefits of a FT staff are longevity, and through that, higher skilled staff and more loyal staff. Our business model is that of a very high-service vet hospital, so we see a financial benefit in having truly excellent staff, and the longer they are with us, the more likely it is that they can be truly excellent. Also, the jobs have serious responsibility, so having a bad hire could easily cost us patient lives and/or clients or even a license action, so, again, the quality of our staff really matters to us.

 

So, we provide benefits, and we mostly hire FT, with those few PT'ers (and well trained senior staff who can cover multiple positions within the hospital) filling in the gaps.

 

Partly due to our FT staffing, we happen to have been able to build a long-term, loyal staff, and with some effort and patience, we've built a business culture that avoids call-offs and other unreliability. The staff has come to understand that in order for us to staff the way we do, we have to be able to count on our staff and they have to take care of business needs. That means that when we lose a staff member, the remaining staff have to cheerfully accept OT as needed. (We avoid routine OT by scheduling for aiming at 36hr/wk, but we allow ALL FT staff to work to 40 hrs any week they wish by adding hours to the end of their weekly shifts if they wish. We have lots of projects that always need doing. We feel that if we require/expect a FT staffer to be available to work virtually any shift as requested, then we should give them the 40 hrs of pay if they want/need it.)

 

All that means the staff doesn't call off sick except in rare, true sicknesses, and when they do, the remaining team members cheerfully fill in if possible or simply work harder to make-up for the missing staff member. There are numerous other ways the team has to pull together to make FT staffing work. We have clear expectations, and we simply do not keep anyone on staff that can't or won't be as reliable and flexible as we need them to be. This has allowed us to have a long-term, well compensated staff (with full benefits) who love to work for us, but doing this relies on ALL the employees as well as the leadership working together to make it happen.

 

We worked hard to create a business culture that allows us to staff FT partly b/c we feel it is the right thing to do, but also b/c it is good for BUSINESS, but I could easily see that a lower-skilled business model could much more easily run smoothly and profitably with primarily PT staffing. I think this stinks! The only good option I can suggest is to consider your business/field carefully and to aim for employment that allows for FT staffing. If you are stuck in a business that is going this route, the only suggestion I can make it to talk to the manager/employer and let them know your desires for FT, and be proactive about meeting the business's need for reliable staffing.

 

All that said, it is one of my greatest prides that we provide a great workplace for a handful of people. I think it is tragic that so many business owners ONLY look out for the mighty dollar, and are very short-sighted about that, too. Even though we pay more in benefits and wages than comparable businesses, I really believe that we get a good financial return on those investments.

 

The one good thing about all this is that when Obamacare rolls out, lower wage families should be able to buy affordable, good health insurance regardless of being employed. So, it should make it less terrible to be stuck in two PT jobs b/c people will become less dependent on their employers for insurance.

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