Are Job Cuts a Myth About Obamacare?


A new survey might assuage some concerns that businesses and American workers have about the impact of Obamacare.

Most businesses don’t plan to shift from full-time to part-time employees as a way to skirt the law, according to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. It found that 89% of businesses had not yet cut, nor were planning to cut, the hours of their employees to cope with the Affordable Care Act, according to the Minneapolis Fed’s Roundup.

Nevertheless, that leaves 11% of businesses unaccounted for. So how do they plan on coping? Some 4% said they have already shifted to more part-time workers, while 7% said they plan to cut hours.

While the impact might not be as wide as feared, even 10% of businesses trimming hours would result in painful pay reductions for many workers. The study polled more than 200 businesses in the Minneapolis region.

Fast-food and restaurant chains have been among the most vocal critics of the law, which goes into effect next year. The regulation will require businesses with more than 50 full-time employees — those working at least 30 hours a week — to provide health care benefits or else pay a penalty.

A Five Guys franchisee in North Carolina lashed out at the law earlier this month, saying the cost of providing health care will slow his expansion and could raise prices, while Whole Foods Market (WFM) founder John Mackey called the law “fascism.”

It’s important to keep in mind some caveats with the Minneapolis Fed’s survey.
For one, as the bank itself notes, “many responding organizations employ fewer than 50 people and are exempt from some provisions of the act.”

The Minneapolis Fed also heard from some respondents that it’s too early to say how the complicated regulations will affect them.

“We’re just beginning to figure out the impact of the Affordable Health Care Act,” said a Minnesota respondent, according to the bank’s site. “Once we understand that, we’ll adjust accordingly.”

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