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."

More on Money Now

Jan 9, 2013 8:06PM
Hopefully they'll get a job elsewhere and the miser owner will find he is the only one working there.
Jan 9, 2013 8:04PM
Well I can see that greed of corporate america and Small Business over 50 will not take any responsibility for their employees just the bottom line and stock holders.  Guess that lazy 47% will go to 55% or more and guess who will pay the medical bills..........you and me.  Wendy's can keep their fast food...........spread the word.
Jan 9, 2013 8:03PM



  You don't seem to realize this has been going on a while.  40 hours were cut

so employers could dodge benefits.   30 hours, no benefits, minimum wage

for temp workers is how it goes now.  


  Get this, el presidente has in place penalties if you do not get your own medical

coverage.    The system is badly broken; the motive is profit, nothing to do with your



Jan 9, 2013 8:01PM

As I read these comments I see a pattern, A whole bunch blind mice who believe that health is not nessecary for the workers. And that management and the honarables that voted for this are that only ones entitled to health insurance?

This change to the system of health care may not be the fix but we have not even tried to see if it might work. It's a sorry that we have become so self sevring.





Jan 9, 2013 8:00PM
Feel bad for the people getting their hours cut. This should have been thought about before Washington forced this on us.
Jan 9, 2013 7:59PM
I can't imagine having a business and asking my employees to work WITHOUT providing them healthcare. 
Jan 9, 2013 7:58PM

Boy do I hate people who say, "I told you so".  I even hate those people more that say,  "you haven't seen anything yet".   The worst are those that say, "you get what you voted for so don't complain".  NOT! 


So you are telling me that there is no cause and effect to any action. 


I'll bet you that the government will never let you know how many people had their hours slashed or loss their benefits.

Jan 9, 2013 7:58PM

My employee lectured me about ObamaCare for 6 months before the election.    I dont have 50 employees,  so I do not have to provide insurance  under the ACA.      

 I did show him what his estimated penalty would be every year that he did not purchase insurance.    He had no idea what I was talking about.

He said that he wasnt going to pay it  and that he thought healthcare was "free."   I explained that the first proposal has criminal penalties associated with you not buying insurance.

Also, they wanted to draft directly out of your bank account, dont know if that is still the case.


As long as someone else has to pay,  people are all for it.   


Deficit spending and forced healthcare is not magic.   Someone has to pay for it.

I anticipate alot of flak for these comments, but it is basic  VERY BASIC math.


Most people that would debate on this issue would respond with something like "what about Bush?"   "What about Cheney?"  What about your boy,  Rush?   


Those guys were not looking out for me, either.


This is not a clash of political ideology,  it is lunacy.    This is about MAKING US BUY INSURANCE,  A PRODUCT LIKE STARBUCKS COFFEE. 


If you want analogies that are politically neutral:

Cheney is to Halliburton   what  Warren Buffett is to the Insurance Industry.

They all do it.

This Nation is being destroyed from within.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Eff the millionaires, poor Wendy & Pizza whore
Jan 9, 2013 7:56PM
So Papa John's is giving away 2 million free pizzas on their new promotion.  Let's see, at a conservative cost of 9.00 each, that's about $18 million. Oh yes, he can write it off as promotion but he can certainly write off the health care act premiums as well.  What's wrong with this picture ?
The ignorance on this page is astonishing. 
Jan 9, 2013 7:55PM
You know, I am so sick of people screwing the working poor! This has nothing to do with the people already getting screwed, but top managment! They are already screwing you moron's by paying such a low wage,with no benifits,now this poor millionare, instead of LOWERING HIS SALARY or selling one of his many homes what does he do,cut's on back the people that make him his millions,hours! What a pitiful excuse for a humanbeing, oh and that tightwad that owns pappajohns,you should see the house he lives in and yes he has elevators in it for his cars,another pitiful excuse for a humanbeing! Before the insults and whinning starts from those that pity the billionares,yes I am  socialest,have been of that political persuasion most of my life! There is not one person in this or anyother country that needs to make over 1 milion a year! if you can't live more than comfortable on that amount,somethings WRONG! Rembember when if the rich had their taxes raised they were all going to leave this country? The doctors were all going to leave when the affordable care act  was implemented? Here is some news for all of you,the rich still don't pay their fair share and we are the only industralized country on this planet that doesent have" Socialized Medicene" the doctors aren't going anywhere either! What needs to be done is the AMA needs to be disolved and Doctors need to re-read the hypocratic oath, if your in medicene to get rich,your in the WRONG PROFESSION!
Jan 9, 2013 7:55PM
If this is what it took to get these lying business owners to start thinking about how to operate more efficiently, we should have had the healthcare act installed decades ago. It is ridiculous to think that theses selfish business owners could have expanded a business worthy of the revenue in the absence of what they love to coin "Obamacare". Maybe it is time that businesses focus on doing right by their employees and operating with a standard of quality instead of putting out the recent low quality garbage they call expansion!
Jan 9, 2013 7:54PM
Cutting minimum wage worker's hours so benefits don't have to be paid is nothing new. SAFEWAY does it all the time. It was also a well known fact that if you pissed off the deli manager your hours would be cut even more. I saw one girls hours cut down to 3 hours a week and was told that "we want her to quit". So it's nothing new and it's all ****.


Jan 9, 2013 7:53PM
BooHoo! Raise the price of your stupid pizza or hamburgers! Otherwise scew all employees work everybody uder 30 hours and let em all buy their own healthcare! Good F##kn luck Idiots!
Jan 9, 2013 7:53PM
What's the oath every rep. senator, and president take? Have they kept it? Have they defended the constitution of the United States of America from all enemies foreign and domestic?  They have become the enemy. How many years has it been since they passed a budget? The economy, gun control, wars, special interests, ENOUGH ALREADY!! Get these people out of office!
Jan 9, 2013 7:53PM
Wendy's how nice of you. Are you going to pass the savings on to us in the form of french fries?
Jan 9, 2013 7:52PM
Instead of the ten dollar pizza make it the eleven dollar pizza.
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