Kroger Confronts Obamacare by Reducing Employee Hours

When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in June, many businesses were left to face difficult decisions. Some small businesses determined that they would need to eliminate certain benefits or reduce full-time employees and add more part-time employees to save on expenses. In some cases, small business owners determined that they would not be able to expand their workforce at all. 

However, large businesses are also feeling the pressure. Last month, Darden Restaurants, the world’s largest casual dining chain which runs Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants among others, announced that they would test limiting employee hours to avoid the costs of Obamacare. They said that this reduction in hours is “just one of the many things we are evaluating to help us address the cost implications healthcare reform will have on our business.” Now, Kroger grocery stores have announced that they will be doing the same. 

Kroger is a large grocery store chain which employes nearly 350,000 people and had sales sales of $90 billion last year. Last week, employees found out that, starting in 2013, there will be some changes for employees. These scheduling changes will be made to account for increased costs due to Obamacare. Employees who are not already considered full time will have their hours limited whereas, now, they are allowed to work as many hours as needed in the store. For many employees, this means that they will need to find a second job or another job altogether. The Kroger employee who leaked the memo said that “Hard-working employees of Kroger and Darden are among the thousands of casualties of Obamacare. And these hourly workers are far from being members of the evil “1%”, and this is only the beginning. Vote accordingly in November. Repeal Obamacare.” 

With Obamacare reducing employer freedom, they will have to make difficult decisions. With a decision between reducing employee hours or reducing the number of employees entirely, businesses are doing what they need to do to survive in this new econoomy. This is not a question of politics, it’s reality, the new reality unless Obamacare is overturned. 

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