Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, September 10, 2013
Add SeaWorld Entertainment to the long list of employers cutting workers’ hours as a result of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The resort destination chain, which operates 11 theme parks nationwide, will further reduce the number of hours its part-time workers make each year to avoid having to pay for those employees’ healthcare under the new law. Part-time workers will no longer be scheduled for more than 28 hours of work a week; the new law requires employers to pay for healthcare benefits if the employee works more than 30 hours a week. SeaWorld currently employs 22,000 employees nationwide, with the large majority of them – 18,000 – are considered to be part-time or seasonal workers.
The company confirmed the move Monday in a written statement to the Orlando Sentinel, noting that the change ”is intended to bring consistency to the part-time designation across the SeaWorld Parks system.” The company wouldn’t tell the Sentinel, however, if the change was a direct result of the employer mandate, which now goes into effect in January 2015. The mandate fines businesses $3,000 per employee if they fail to offer insurance to workers clocking more than 30 hours a week.
SeaWorld would also not say how many of its 18,000 part-time employees would be affected by the reduced hours, but told the Sentinel that it plans to hire additional full-time hourly staffers with benefits.
Other companies that have cut workers hours or changed their hiring policies as a result of the impeding implementation of Obamacare include clothing manufacturer Forever 21, fast food chain White Castle, movie chain Regal Cinemas and a slew of local governments and colleges.
Rite Aid also made an Obamacare-related announcement Monday, announcing that starting in a few weeks the pharmacy chain will host insurance agents in more than 2,000 of its stores nationwide. In addition, all 4,600 of the company’s stores will offer information brochures about the new law. The company also set up a brand-new website to educate customers on the law as well.
“With the implementation of the Health Insurance Marketplace, our customers will now have many new choices to make in the coming enrollment period,” Rite Aid CEO John Standley said during a press conference in New Jersey Monday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, according to POLITICO. “We know they will look to Rite Aid for information and guidance, and that’s why we’re providing free resources in store and online, to help them better understand the new requirements and options available to them under the law.”
One of Rite Aid’s biggest competitors, CVS Caremark, announced in July that it would assist with the implementation of Obamacare by providing information on the law at its 7,600 stores and installing trained navigators at many of them.