Changes in health care regulations forces employers to cut back on part time hours
Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer
President Barack Obama called, and the youth answered, voting for him at a rate just short of 70% in 2012. However, the effects of Obamacare on businesses around the nation may soon be making them regret picking up the phone.
Chrissy Avery, the program manager of the Mason Community Center, is in charge of coordinating events and programming. She was one of the managers who had to break the news to their part time workers about hours being cut.
“[Obamacare] has affected the way that the city structures part time positions,” Avery said. “Previously, part time employees could work up to 35 hours per week. With the changes that are coming up, employees that work—I believe is 30 hours a week or an average of that—would need to be given health care benefits, which for the large amount of staff that we have, the city financially can’t afford that.”
The reduction of hours has affected how the Community Center operates, according to senior Heather Smith who works part time at the Community Center’s daycare.
“I think for the Community Center, [Obamacare] was a really bad thing; it was a hard blow because most of the people there are [employed] part time,” Smith said.
Avery said that there are both pros and cons to working at the Community Center with this new policy, but the ultimate choice is up to the student.
“Working at the Community Center is very convenient for the students,” Avery said. “But I think that the policy can maybe change the way they think about applying because maybe they want more hours and know that they can’t get that here, or they do want to work here and might have to get another job to make more hours.”
New employees have been hired because of hour cuts, according to both Smith and her coworker, senior Leon Jiao. Smith said that sometimes it’s hard to get the job done with so many people.
“It’s hard to have so many people doing one job when one person could do it; [but because of the new policy] they’re just not allowed to,” Smith said.
Though the hours cut from the teenagers’ working schedules aren’t a problem during the school year because of a busy academic schedule, it’s difficult not being able to work throughout the summer, according to Jiao.
“[During] the summer, I was kind of mad because I wanted to work more,” Jiao said. “[The policy] came into play right before summer and I wanted to work more during the summer to save up a lot of money.”
As a senior, Jiao hoped to save money for college; the only obstacle was the restraint on working hours. Smith encountered the same problem during the summer.
“Over the summer, I wanted to work more and I didn’t get the hours,” Smith said.
The government-owned Community Center isn’t the only company taking a hit for part time employment because of Obamacare. Wendy’s is also reducing hours of part time employees, according to sophomore Tucker Welsh, who has been working at Wendy’s for a little over a year.
“During the school year, we can work about 18 to 19 hours and over the summer it was 30. Last year it was 40,” Welsh said.
The low amount of hours that Wendy’s offered was shocking, according to sophomore Nikki Giesel, who had just been hired in May.
“A total for [the number of hours I have a week] is about 15 or 16 hours and that’s [drastically lower] than I thought it would be,” Giesel said. “At first, because it was my first job, I didn’t really put any thought into [the hours being cut] but then I realized that I’m not getting as many hours as I wish I would and I just wasn’t get paid as much.”
Workers at Wendy’s experienced the same frustration as Community Center workers about not being able to work as much in the summer, according to Welsh.
“Last summer, I was working about 36 hours with breaks, but this summer I was working only about 25 with breaks,” Welsh said. “If I was free and sat around doing nothing [during the summer], I would much rather be working and making money rather than just be sitting around.”
Ultimately, no matter how teens are affected by Obamacare, the program is law.
“It comes down to the law and the law says I can only work a certain number of hours a week,” Welsh said.