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BALTIMORE -- Convenience store chain Royal Farms has reportedly cut employee hours to avoid providing medical insurance under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
According to a report by the Huffington Post, the chain recently restricted the hours for most of its full- and part-time staff to fewer than 30 hours a week, therefore bypassing the law's health insurance requirement. Obamacare mandates that by 2014, large companies with more than 50 workers must offer insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. Three Royal Farms workers in Maryland told The Huffington Post that managers at last month's staff meeting blamed Obamacare for the reductions.
"Since the meeting, they've slowly reduced everyone in my store down to 27 hours a week or below," reported one cashier, who chose to remain anonymous. He said that employees have been quitting or skipping shifts since the announcement.
Royal Farms did not comment for The Huffington Post's report.
Jeff Lenard, vice president of industry advocacy for NACS, the Association for Convenience & Petroleum Retailing, explained that the c-store industry once employed younger and less-experienced workers. Due to the struggling economy, older workers, who remain in their jobs and are more reliant on health insurance, are now attracted to the industry, which has experienced market growth in recent years.
NACS opposes the employer mandates under Obamacare.
Royal Farms' new policy does not apply to certain managers and those already enrolled in company benefits, noted the The Huffington Post. The Royal Farms chain is comprised of 146 stores in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Pennsylvania.