Dunkin' takes shot at modifying Obamacare

The company is lobbying the government to narrow the Affordable Care Act's definition of 'full time,' which would mean fewer employees for it insure.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 20, 2013 1:24PM

File photo of a Dunkin' Donuts Inc. store in Midtown Manhattan (© Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)The question of who counts as a full-time worker is coming under fire from Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), which wants the government to narrow its definition under Obamacare. That's because it wants to avoid paying health insurance for Dunkin' Donuts employees who work as little as 30 hours a week.


Dunkin' Brands is lobbying the government to change the U.S. Affordable Care Act's definition of "full-time" to employees working at least 40 hours a week, instead of the 30 hours currently written into the law, Chief Executive Nigel Travis told the Financial Times


The latest volley from an iconic U.S. business comes as the ACA is set to go into effect next year. The law will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees (30 hours or more) to offer those workers "minimum essential" healthcare insurance. 


Dunkin' Brands, which also owns Baskin-Robbins, operates on a franchise model. The parent company, excluding workers at its company-owned restaurants, employed more than 1,120 people at the end of 2011, according to its annual report.


But the real benefit would likely go to Dunkin's franchisees, who operate more than 10,000 Dunkin' Donuts locations and almost 7,000 Baskin-Robbins restaurants. 


Other big businesses are lashing out at the costs of the plan. Supermarket chain Kroger (KR) told the FT that some companies might decide to pay the government-mandated penalty for failing to insure employees simply because it's cheaper than buying insurance. 


Small-business owners are also reacting. As previously reported by MSN moneyNOW, one Wendy's franchise in Nebraska is cutting back the hours of non-management employees to avoid paying health benefits. The local franchise vice president said his company couldn't afford to pay for health insurance and instead is cutting hours of about 100 Wendy's workers. 


Other businesses are keeping their employee count under 50, the FT notes. 


The average cost to employers of providing insurance for a single worker is $4,664 and $11,329 for a family, the FT notes, citing the Kaiser Family Foundation. The penalty for not insuring employees under Obamacare, meanwhile, is $2,000 per worker. 


"If you look through the economics of the penalty the companies pay versus the cost to provide coverage, the penalty's too low, or the cost of coverage is too high, or the combination is wrong," Kroger Chief Executive David Dillon told the newspaper. 


More on moneyNOW

1467Comments
Feb 20, 2013 6:16PM
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I agree with Dunkin' Donuts on this matter! Obamacare fails to recognize certain situations which would make it necessary to temporarily assign extra hours to Part-Time Workers just to make sure that all shifts are covered, even if it would mean that those Part-Time Workers would find themselves working over 30 hours in a single week!  The following list of situations would make it necessary to temporarily  reassign  hours until another person could be hired to fill the vacated position: person having been fired; person quitting the job; person dying; person being promoted to another position within the company.  This next list of situations that can occur would make it necessary to temporarily  reassign shifts to other workers until the affected workers could make it back to the workplace: people calling in because they are sick or injured; people needing Personal Time off to take care of family business(for example, attending a funeral for a loved one); people being summoned for Jury Duty; people asking to go on vacation; for women, the need to go on Maternity Leave; for Active Reservists, having one's Unit called back to Active Service. In addition to these situations, one must keep in mind that many companies also employ High School Students.  For many  of these students, this is their first job experience. During times  when this part of the workforce is not in classes, they would be able to cover as many shifts as possible; when classes are in session, the companies would need to count on adults to cover  shifts through the middle of each day that the High School Students attending classes would be unable to cover. Because of all of these situations that would make it necessary to reassign hours to Part-Time Workers, even if these situations would cause Part-Time Workers to temporarily work 30+ hours in any given week, it is necessary for not just companies but also Part-Time Workers to get in touch with their Congressional Representatives for the express purpose of removing both the  30+ hour restriction and its corresponding fines for companies who would, out of necessity, need to do such reassignments just to have this flexibility for covering shifts, and to do so IMMEDIATELY, before any of these companies would have to pay any fines currently set into Obama's "Affordable Health Care" law. 
Feb 20, 2013 6:13PM
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Businesses have been cutting hours for years to avoid paying benefits to the same employees that help makes them profitable but the kicker is companies like Cosco who already provide benefits to all employee’s and pay higher than minimum wage has the lowers employee cost in their industry.  Loyal employee’s has been proven to be over all cheaper in the long run (over many years).  The problem isn’t Obamacare is the short slightness of today’s business leaders.  The reality of it all is with an 8% unemployment rate employer’s get away with cutting employees pay and benefits but if it was 4% companies would have to offer more pay and better benefits to compete for employees.  Obamacare would not be an issue. So blame Obama for the unemployment rate and wanting bigger government but the fact is the private section is who to blame.  The highest profited is years and the lowest employee cost in decades. An 8% unemployment rate is profitable for big business (low wages and benefits) the government is and has always been the difference between a profitable employment rate (7-9%) and a competitive unemployment rate (4-5%).  I guess, unless it’s your job being cut who cares.

Feb 20, 2013 6:12PM
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What I do NOT understanding about all the complaints on Obamacare, taxes, immigration, et al.
Why do people get so angry at Congress and the President.

AFTER ALL YOU ELECTED THEM! In the 2012 election for Congress 479 seats were up for re-election (the House and 1/3 of the Senate). This was an angry election. YET out of those 479 Congress people that YOU ALL HATED and complained about ONLY 2 WERE DEFEATED!. 2!!

Now calm down and think for once. Who REALLY is responsible for the government, the entitlements, the welfare, a Socialist State, the Constitution ripped to pieces?  Congress? I don't think so. When will Americans understand that WE are the problem! Simply because WE vote or rather less than half of us vote while the other half make excuses for not voting. 

Harry Reid has been in the Senate over 30 YEARS! The average tenure is over 24 years! The SAME people are constantly re-elected!  Yes they are all evil and they will all be surprised when the military takes over; and yes Congress has exempted themselves from EVERY law they pass. AND WE PAY FOR THEIR PENSION (AFTER ONLY 5 YEARS IN OFFICE YOU GET YOU PAY FOR LIFE ALSO MEDICAL), THEIR SUPER MEDICAL. OVER half of Congress are worth over $1 million; do you really think they will raise taxes on the 1%?  Wake up and get really informed.
Feb 20, 2013 6:10PM
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Canada has low cost (efficient) health care (americans buy prescriptions in Canada), low debt, efficient government. How do they do it? Oh yeah, they have no desire to be the world's policeman. Take all the co-pay's, employee insurance premium, employer premiums, add it up and pay less total as taxes into one payer system. Here's a thought. Every veteran should have at least as good health care as members of Congress.

Feb 20, 2013 6:09PM
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Obama can stick it where the sun don't shine !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Feb 20, 2013 6:09PM
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Happy to say that I don't go to DD much! :)  Their coffee tastes burnt anyway.
Feb 20, 2013 6:08PM
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Yup, Obamanoics at work.  He must have learned his math from one of those theoretical mathmeticians.  Let's see...you can spend trillions more than you take in and reduce the budget through balanced approach.  By balanced, he means keep spending like a mofo and hike the taxes on those who are most responsible for economic growth (those with the money) and then give it to the ones who don't an "F"in thing so they can continue to sit on their fat, lazy, @$$3S, getting up only long enough to keep voting for idiots like Obama.  If all of the people who create the jobs are telling him that they are'nt going to hire anymore and are going to cut the hours of those who they have hired, or just let go of enough people to get them under the 50 employee mark wouldnt that tell you that Oboomacare was going to harm the economy.  Oh yeah, he knows it and he doesn't give a $hit!!!!  All he cares about is staying in power and trying to overthrow the Constitution and install his socialist governmetn in America and allow his radical Muslim terrorist buddies to infiltrate our country.  Obama is a jerk, an idiot, and a traitor to our country and he needs to be impeached or country will fall.
Feb 20, 2013 6:07PM
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JUST REMEMBER TO FIRE THE SUPPOSEDLY REPRESENTATIVES (SENATORS & CONGRESSMEN) THAT VOTED FOR THIS WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING WHAT WAS IN THE BILL. HOW  UNINFORMED AND STUPID ARE WE GOING TO GET WITH THE OPERATION OF THIS COUNTRY?
Feb 20, 2013 6:06PM
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Cheapskate employers are the problem, not the healthcare plan. Workers need to get it through their heads that companies DO NOT CARE if you live, go broke or die. Since the cheapskates refuse to cover their employees and pay the fines, then it's time the fines went to, say, 20 grand per employee. FORCE the tightwads to cover their workers.
Feb 20, 2013 6:06PM
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all of the people that thought they were gong to get something for nothing. here is to you. sorry but you still lose. obama did nothing except raise taxes on small business and made the public think they were getting insurance when in fact they are not. i dont blame any company for telling obama to take a hike. it should not be up to obama to be able to force anyone to buy something for someone else if they choose not to. now you not only have no insurance you have a lower pay check. Nice work obama supporters. just remember you were all warned. now you reap what you sew.

Feb 20, 2013 6:06PM
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I don't want to hear anyone complaining about the government getting out of debt.  Did you read that in order not to provide insurance some companies should just pay the fine?  Wow!  GREED at its finest.  For the ones saying that these jobs should go to kids and people just starting out, isn't that bias?  So if your kid had a job working at McDonalds(that is what most of us responsible parents want.  Their kid to work hard for something), you wouldn't want your kid insured versus the risks involved?  Why is working at McDonalds less hazardous than working as a full time employee at any company?  Is health insurance a perk?  If it's a perk, then why do I have to pay for it out my check?  Perks are usually free!  Gone is the idea that getting that good job comes with benefits.  This went by the way about the same time as company loyalty.  How many work for a company that is "at will"?  How many think they will retire with their company? 

Feb 20, 2013 6:06PM
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This country like almost all industrialized countries on the planet, must have a universal health care plan where all residents can get quality health care. If people think that this is costly than wait to you see how much of our budget will be spent towards taking care of the under insured. England France Japan Germany even Cuba have a better way of taking care of the peoples medical needs. We are falling so far behind because special interest groups own our government. Private medical insurance is too costly and does not begin to take care of those who cannot afford the premiums. 
Feb 20, 2013 6:06PM
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**** Obamacare!!

2013 vs 1981 inaugural addresses could not be more opposite.
If you think government is the answer, you were happy with the results!!

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are:
'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'- Ronald Reagan

Feb 20, 2013 6:05PM
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I have served my country,  I have never ask for a dime from the government, and worked hard all my life….. we are heading into a time where companies are going to pay for the penalties then pay for a employees health insurance, then the employees  that work hard for their money and are struggling just to pay their bills and living expenses are going to have to pay a penalty because they can’t afford to pay for their own health insurance.  I’m terrified were this country is heading, people are losing the American Dream….. I pray for the next generation….  

Feb 20, 2013 6:05PM
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If you work you're accountable. If your a homeowner you're accountable. Well I guess I'm accountable for those who arent including paying over $1000 for a vet bill for my puppy as she was attacked on my porch while leashed by a unleasher German Sheppard. Oh I have a mini dachsund 1/25 its size. Oh the owners didn't even apologize and were on welfare. NOT ACCOUNTABLE. How do they feed and maintain there dog. Whyt are they allowed a dog with the accountable ones footing the bill. Nice and its only getting worse
Feb 20, 2013 6:05PM
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This is what I expected to happen. Remember what I write now to you: If you are unskilled labor, a che labor  commodity, you will never work full time with benefits unless you have a very kind rich owner. Skilled and educated workers will get beneifts because employee turnover can  hurt a company but unskilled labor......forget it. As I tell me students, if you  sweep floors, companies do not want to give you a 30 year pin. The cost to retrains a sweeper is 15 minutes at best. They thrive on unskilled labor  turnover and in fact it is planned in budgets.

 

REMEMBER-YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST.

Feb 20, 2013 6:02PM
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I bet everyone here compaining about Obama and Obamacare already has health insurance.  That's the American way --- I got mine so screw you.
Feb 20, 2013 6:01PM
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I'm not sure why companies are complaining about providing insurance for employees.  My fiance', who was self employed obtained insurance for a small monthly amount.  ($180)  It provided minimal coverage, but was better than nothing.  I'm sure if he can find insurance, those huge companies can too.

 

Feb 20, 2013 6:00PM
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NOBAMA CARE IS THE ONLY GOOD BAMACARE....

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