How the new Obamacare mandates are reducing full-time employment

From the Wall Street Journal.


Here’s a trend you’ll be reading more about: part-time “job sharing,” not only within firms but across different businesses.

It’s already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the Affordable Care Act. In some cases we’ve heard about, a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King or Wendy’s to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts.

Welcome to the strange new world of small-business hiring under ObamaCare. The law requires firms with 50 or more “full-time equivalent workers” to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says “equivalent” because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don’t offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well.

These employment cliffs are especially perverse economic incentives. Thousands of employers will face a $40,000 penalty if they dare expand and hire a 50th worker. The law is effectively a $2,000 tax on each additional hire after that, so to move to 60 workers costs $60,000.

A 2011 Hudson Institute study estimates that this insurance mandate will cost the franchise industry $6.4 billion and put 3.2 million jobs “at risk.” The insurance mandate is so onerous for small firms that Stephen Caldeira, president of the International Franchise Association, predicts that “Many stores will have to cut worker hours out of necessity. It could be the difference between staying in business or going out of business.” The franchise association says the average fast-food restaurant has profits of only about $50,000 to $100,000 and a margin of about 3.5%.

Because other federal employment regulations also kick in when a firm crosses the 50 worker threshold, employers are starting to cap payrolls at 49 full-time workers. These firms have come to be known as “49ers.” Businesses that hire young and lower-skilled workers are also starting to put a ceiling on the work week of below 30 hours. These firms are the new “29ers.” Part-time workers don’t have to be offered insurance under ObamaCare.

[…]A 2012 survey of employers by the Mercer consulting firm found that 67% of retail and wholesale firms that don’t offer insurance coverage today “are more inclined to change their workforce strategy so that fewer employees meet that [30 hour a week] threshold.”

The biggest problem I have with these socialist policies like Obamacare is that they often affect people who didn’t vote for Obama. It wouldn’t bother me at all if only Democrats were harmed by Democrat policies. But I don’t like it when innocent people who didn’t want these policies have to suffer the consequences of Democrat policies. Maybe we just need to be better at explaining things to Democrats using very simple words before the next election, so that they can vote for competence and results instead of voting for charisma and rhetoric.

2 thoughts on “How the new Obamacare mandates are reducing full-time employment”

  1. Exactly the solution French businesses came up with years ago. If you company gets close to 50 personnel, split the company, and re-establish half your work force outside the boundaries of the law.

    They’ve been doing it for decades. And we know how vibrant and successful the French economy is.

    Vive le revolucion. Welcome to Europe, across the sea.


  2. I’ve often argued the same concept – my taxes going up because of wars created by Bush and continued by Obama – tax all of the republicans more to pay for their wars and their love of propping up the military industrial complex that wants to take away my guns (actually I only have one) so I’m easier to rule over.


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