Wendy’s franchise cuts hours to avoid Obamacare

The action is the latest in a series of challenges against next year's implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

By Bruce Kennedy Jan 9, 2013 10:13AM

Doctor sitting in office with patient talking and smiling -- Paul Bradbury, OJO Images, Getty ImagesThe small-business backlash against Obamacare continues. A Wendy’s fast-food franchise in Nebraska is cutting the hours of non-management employees so its owners won't be required to pay health benefits.

The local franchise vice president in Omaha tells WOWT-TV the cuts are coming in several weeks’ time because he cannot afford to pay health insurance for all his employees.

Starting next year the U.S. Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer full-time workers "minimum essential" healthcare coverage. The Act defines a full-time employee as someone who works at least 30 hours a week.

As a result, about 100 Wendy’s workers in Omaha have been told their hours are being cut.

"It has a huge effect on me and pretty much everybody that I work with," T.J. Growbeck, who currently works 36 to 37 hours a week at the restaurant, told WOWT. "I'm hoping that I can get some sort of promotion because then I would get my hours, but everybody is shooting for that because of the hours being cut."

Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch told the Huffington Post the decision was being made at the franchise level.

"Our franchisees are independent businesspeople, and they make the decisions regarding their restaurant teams," he said. "As small-business employers, our franchisees are facing rising food and operating costs and many new government regulations."

While Wendy’s says the hours-cutting action by its Omaha franchise is not "a company decision," several major restaurant chains have been very vocal in their criticism of Obamacare.

A case in point: Papa John's (PZZA) CEO John Schnatter said the Affordable Care Act would cost his company up to $8 million a year, which would force him to increase product costs and cut workers’ hours.

Other restaurant franchises, meanwhile, are also looking at options ahead of Obamacare. John Rigos, owner of a Five Guys franchise in New York City, told CBS News the new regulations will affect hiring policies at his restaurants. 

"It'll probably have to reduce the staff to some degree," he said, "and again, focus on building [a] smaller stronger team rather than being as aggressive in opening up new stores and creating new jobs."

Rigos said while he "absolutely" supports Obamacare, he still finds it challenging.

"There's 25,000 restaurants within the New York City market we're competing against," he notes, "so it's not like we have surplus profits that we could just earmark a portion of them to go toward these types of initiatives."

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Jan 10, 2013 4:02PM
If companies just did the right thing... We wouldn't need to make laws like Obamacare.. Greed is the cause of this, not the medicine to fix it.
Jan 10, 2013 4:01PM
I hope all you people are happy! You wanted Obama back in office? WELL THERE HE IS. We are now screwed because of him. Because of him, someone I know now has to pay $20 for office visits. It used $10. To be honest, I am surprised we haven't been nuked by some middle eastern country already.
Jan 10, 2013 4:00PM
Obama is laughing at the little monkey followers that voted for him. He has them as slaves to his agenda now and glories in their suffering at his hands. They were too stupid to listen when the business owners said they would do this BEFORE they voted for him. Reap the whirlwind little monkeys. The business owners were not bluffing fools
Jan 10, 2013 3:59PM

So if employers keep their work force under 50 employees they don't have to provide healthcare...Hmmm two things here one you now have an unemployed American without heathcare, is that what they teach at Harvard Mr. President? To those who voted Obama in office...well suck on that!!

Jan 10, 2013 3:59PM
I fail to see that 'competition" is the issue nor the problem. The field of play is level for ALL the players. If prices need to go up $.05/.15/ pizza, so be it! Competition is FAR more than which company can sell the cheapest "widget" or sandwich. Cutting hours from staff to avoid health benefits is just nuts. If there is 40 hrs of work that needs to be done, you have 2 choices,,, pay a good employee the 40 hr. wage, or hire another person to do the leftover work, and likely pay for more hrs. for the less skilled new worker! I for one will pay 1 worker 40 hrs pay for 40 hrs work with benefits, rather than pay 2 workers 45 hrs of pay for 41 hrs of work with none. 
Jan 10, 2013 3:57PM

Most if not all small businesses are doing exactly like this Wendy's franchise, they just don't talk about it. The more regulations you make, the more games people will have to play to survive. In the end, most of these laws will amount to squat. If it is good to have businesses provide health insurance, then why not make ALL businesses provide insurance. Why the arbitrary cut off at 50 employees? Why not cut it at 49 employees, or at 51 employees? From now on, small businesses will make sure they have less than 50 employees. They will definitely think twice before hiring the 51st employee. This policy will only hurt the poor and the young who are still back in the line waiting for a job to open up.

Jan 10, 2013 3:57PM
Obama won. The whole world lost....
Jan 10, 2013 3:55PM
Whatever your political affiliation, the thing that should outrage every American is that this administration thinks they are smarter than you, that some Beltway blowhard is better at deciding what is best for you, than you!  That alone should make a person's blood boil--they think the American electorate is too stupid and lemming-like to make health decisions for themselves, and sadly, based on the election, they might be right.  And by the way, to all of those who support Obama's pilfering of Medicare for his own arrogant program, what happens when the guy you didn't vote for is in charge and deciding your fate?  You will be yelling and screaming about your precious rights that you were only too willing to give away in the first place for some false sense of security.  "Those who would trade freedom for security, deserve neither."
Jan 10, 2013 3:55PM
Does anyone out there with a job think Obama has been good for them? I am retired and have been for 10 years and it seems to me that changes he and his group have introduce are mostly detrimental for us. Especially for most folks that planned ahead for retirement or have jobs, unless of course you are somehow connected with the administration.
Jan 10, 2013 3:53PM

we need have a system like the beauty colleges have. You can  get bad hair cuts from students just learning real cheap.

  beginning medical student would have some one to learn on and these people would get at least some medical treatment cheaply.

Jan 10, 2013 3:53PM

I find the commentary laughable to think that a President can be called Tyrannical or a Socialist simply because he wants all Americans to have health care and is putting the onus on wealthy business owners to do so.  If Obama's biggest mistake is providing health care options for all full time employees then he will go down as one of the greatest Presidents of all time.  The fact that people like Papa John (a multi-millionaire 50 times over) complains about 8 million in rising costs is a complete and utter joke.  Raise your pizza prices by .50 cents and that 8 million is covered moron.  The fact that other than Apartheid S. Afica, the US is the only country not to have a universal health care initiative for all citizens is a complete travesty and anyone that doesn't believe in that cares more for him/herself than the country and all it's people.

Jan 10, 2013 3:53PM

This is just the beginning. These people will ultimately suffer much more before Obama is done ripping thier lives to pieces. They asked for it. How's hope and change feel now dweebs.

Jan 10, 2013 3:48PM
Maybe you should mention this to the foot held banana eater in chief as his next grandly intelligent move is to take many 100's of BILLIONS in welfare, S/S funding, education, healthcare and generally money that should be used to ease Americans pain ......... and give it to illegals!

Jan 10, 2013 3:46PM
This is garbage.  This is pure greed.   With 50 Million Americans without healthcare, and the numbers rising.  Companies are also not wanting to give benefits either, what is the answer?? Those with healthcare coverage already pay for those with none with higher premiums/fees.  I am all for paying my fair share so EVERY American is covered.  This is what is right and humane and what makes America great. WE the People.  Not the Republican way of ME the People.   By the way, I have a good job With full benefits, dental, vision, health and even life and disability.   I know how important it is socially and economically for all Americans to have this coverage.  
Jan 10, 2013 3:43PM
The origin of the healthcare BS started when courts told hospitals they couldn't turn anyone away for lack of ability to pay. 
Since when do we get the right to walk into a store, take whatever we think we need and walk out, leaving the bill to be paid by others in the form of higher prices?  That is called shoplifting. 
The mandate for care is essentially government approved shoplifting by uninsured people, can you believe that?
This is why we have ever increasing prices, the number of people who realize they can shoplift healthcare services has increased.  It proves the greed factor, why buy insurance when the government allows you to steal the health care anyway?
Unfortunately the stealing will not end, uninsured will pay the penalty for not having insurance, and, continue to steal extremely expensive health care, all approved by our dumb**ses in government.
Jan 10, 2013 3:41PM

To all you Conservatives and "1%" business owners that want to keep more in your pockets instead of paying employees a living wage.  Wake up and stop listening to and believing your own propaganda.... 


Here's what is true.... people will seek out medical care when they need care (from ear aches to heart attacks) at the only place they can without asking for money upfront...the local hospital emergency room. 


What happens next is simple.  Everyone that has health care or can afford to go to a hospital or see a doctor in his office will end up footing the cost of all those folks that didn't pay the hospital, the technicians, and the doctors.


The next time you go to the hospital the hospital will charge more, the technician will charge more for the x-ray, and the doctor (who also has a private practice) will charge more at the hospital and also at his office. 




Health care will come down if FIVE things happen.  First, you expand the Risk Pool to include everyone.  You create a healthcare system which everyone is part of to even include; private insurance, the military, Medicare, Medicaid, workman comp, etc. and spread risk between everyone.  If you don't want the government running the program than let an insurance company run the program but not before you return insurance companies back to "not for profit" companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield used to be where the system worked perfectly.  Second, you make drugs affordable (paying $1.00 for a pill in Canada, France, England, etc. and charging American's $20.00 for the exact pill is nuts).  In fact, many of the drugs that drug companies earn money from actually came from university and our federal drug agency's that discovered the drug and give it to pharmaceutical companies to make.  Third, you have to cut the waste, the overcharging, the duplicate and triplicate test out of the system.  Fourth, have the government provide the medical malpractice insurance (for profit insurers are gouging doctors) so doctors can charge a reasonable fee for their services (same for the hospitals).  Fifth, our healthcare system needs to be returned to the "not for profit" system that covered everything, and worked smoothly before Reagan changed everything and when companies provided affordable healthcare for everyone.  Healthcare has gone downhill since it became a 'for profit" system.

Jan 10, 2013 3:37PM
this is the consequence of a well meaning but ignorant president.  
Jan 10, 2013 3:29PM

How on earth did the small hardware store I worked for 20 years ago afford to offer healthcare for its 8 employees?!  Oh yeah, my boss wasn't a TOTAL greedy a-hole & actually gave a crap about the people who worked for him. 

Jan 10, 2013 3:26PM
If you have a real job to start with your hours wouldn't be cut. Fast food chains have never had any benefits for workers and has always made sure nobody would get overtime while getting big tax loopholes at the same time.Cant take the heat its time to close the kitchen.
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