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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1973Comments
Jan 9, 2013 10:04PM
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How bout MR Obama fork out his 15 million he has in the bank
Jan 9, 2013 9:58PM
Jan 9, 2013 9:57PM
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Well, America you're gonna get what you voted for, not at a business expense, it's all gonna fall on the America peoples shoulders.  I hope they can pay for their healthcare and living expenses on 60 hrs every 2 wks.  Americas are complete idiots.  And you can boycott all you want because every business will be doing this now. Remember, elections have consequences. LOL, this is to funny!
Jan 9, 2013 9:57PM
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There will be no more 80 hr work weeks.........Remember "Change is coming!"
Jan 9, 2013 9:55PM
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Well, America you're gonna get what you voted for, not at a business expense, it's all gonna fall on the America peoples shoulders.  I hope they can pay for their healthcare and living expenses on 60 hrs every 2 wks.  Americas are complete idiots.  And you can boycott all you want because every business will be doing this now. Remember, elections have consequences. LOL, this is to funny!
Jan 9, 2013 9:55PM
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I love all this whining about Obamacare. Doesnt say much about you as a person. You would rather line your pockets than see the socieital benefits of better overall care of your neighbor. I bet alot of you are "christian" as well who are totally against this too......hypocrits.
Jan 9, 2013 9:47PM
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If a business owner in the United States cannot afford to pay employees a decent wage with benefits, including health insurance, then that business owner cannot afford to be in business and should throw in the towel.  Don't blame the president for your ineptitude and greed as a business owner, and don't expect pity from the rest of us!  If you're no longer able to treat employees like indentured servants, just so you can live like kings and queens, don't blame Obamacare.  Blame yourselves for being so self-serving and uncaring toward those who do the real work in your organization.  In other words, take a look in the mirror in one of your palatial home's eight bathrooms and then cry me a freakin' river.

Jan 9, 2013 9:46PM
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Sorry to say but you jackleg morons voted that poop stink pig into office, now deal with it. Amazing isn't it? The very people this freak claims to be helping turns out to be the ones he is hurting. LMAO, typical dummycrat, you fools got just what you asked for. Your bed has been made, now lay in it. Oh yeah, by the way, I have cut my funding to local charities to compensate for my increased taxes. Donkey fools, I wipe more smart away each morning than you have in total.
Jan 9, 2013 9:43PM
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I feel sorry for the people who are struggling to make a living from  these lower paying jobs. Not only will they have their hours reduced, but they will have to buy more insurance than they want or can afford- aka minimum credible coverage- or be fined when they file their tax returns. If people cannot get enough hours to afford health care on their own, they are forced to use more expensive options, ie the emergency room, which increases the cost of healthcare for everyone. Health insurance for my husband and myself in Massachusetts has increased from $1217/month to $1667/month over the past few years. We won't have any relief until we qualify for Medicare in a few years. Hate to wish my life away!!
Jan 9, 2013 9:39PM
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Why don't all you big hearted dems/socialist offer to pay an additional 10% in taxes to be put forth to healthcare...I think it would be a nice gesture to once give from your pockets....
Jan 9, 2013 9:39PM
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"I believe the best social program IS A JOB". Ronald Reagan.

Obama wake up. Country needs investors, businesses and jobs. Not lazy freeloaders. 

Jan 9, 2013 9:37PM
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The non-management employees mostly make minimum wage. They are peons who only make the company work, they didn't start the company. They are lower class human beings not worthy of the respect and benefits of the ruling class.  

Jan 9, 2013 9:31PM
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This works out well  for barry's tax them until they're got nothing left plan ,The ones who get their hrs cut won't sign up for the health care exchanges and then he can hit them with his heath care tax.
Jan 9, 2013 9:31PM
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I, for one, am willing to pay more for my pink slime burger full of hormones and antibiotics from a diseased cow, so the individuals preparing and serving it can have some healthcare.
Jan 9, 2013 9:30PM
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How's that change working out? Higher taxes, underemployment, the absorption of the middle class into the lower class so that everybody will be poor except the rich and they won't be rich for very long either. The wealthy in America will be absorbed into the one time middle class. Eventually if this nonsense continues very long nobody will have any kind of financial or job security unless they work for the Government. Uncle Sugar will control everything and the constitution will be entirely irrelevant!

 

Welcome to Europe! Socialist welfare Utopia!

Jan 9, 2013 9:26PM
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This a complete copout and a lie. This is just another excuse at a cash grab by these companies to raise revenue at the employee's expense. They're going to cut the employee hours to avoid health care costs but not going to raise the employee's salary to maintain pay-equity. Looks like, walks like, and certainly smells like, unadulterated corporate greed. Just like Papa John's free pizza give away, John Schnatter is willing to spend millions on a publicity stunt but not on his own workforce. It galls me that without their workers these guys would have nothing, but they care so little about the people that work for them. I will never, ever, ever, buy anything from either Wendy's or Papa John's again.
Jan 9, 2013 9:26PM
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So i read all theses posts and realize that the problem is the ignorance of so many of you posting about coporate greed and that they are just wanting to keep money in there pockets.  Obviouslly non of you know what a franchise is because not all franchises are making money hand over fist like you seem to believe. Obama care would cost ruffly $400 per employee per month. In a franchise that has 250 employees it would cost $100,000 a month for insurance premiums or 1.2 million dollars a year. I have worked for a small franchise for years in a state that has the second highest minimum wage. Every year minium wage goes up it costs our franchise $80,000-$100,00 based on the same amount of hours employees have worked from the previous years. Now tack on a 1.2 million dollar increase for health care. How is a small fast food FRANCHISE suppost to be able to make ends meet, it is not possible. For those of you that still don't know the definition of Franchise look it up in the dictionary. Not Every Employer is greedy and has deep pockets. Some are barly making ends meet and this Obama Care will force them to close their doors. I know because I work for one of them.
Jan 9, 2013 9:25PM
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Well you want it, so there it is, you deserve it!   wait til prices go up to on everything else you buy just to cover obamacare.  Did you think you would actually get things for free, you people make me sick pathetic losers

Jan 9, 2013 9:25PM
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the big guys have the money and they are going to keep it
Jan 9, 2013 9:23PM
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All you people who oppose the healthcare act, have no idea what it means.  You listen to the GOP party line, who by the way have no plan.  The act says to "OFFER" healthcare insurance, not pay for it.  The employer doesn't have to pay for it if he doesn't want to, but it is cheaper to get rates from an insurance company based on 50 people than one person alone.  And just who you think pays for those uninsured people who use the ER for basic care right now.  All property owners, employer, employee with healthcare and local taxes.  Yes, I'm part of the 5 people who pay for the other 5 who cannot or refuse to get insurance.  Yes I support the healthcare act if only to get 2 or 3 of the current freeloader paying for their own insurance. But I'm not counting on a price break, I expect healthcare cost to go up, just hope by having 25 million more paying into the system will slow the increases.
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