Projecting High Costs Under ObamaCare, Theater Chain Slashes Work Hours

By:  Michael Tennant
04/19/2013
       
Projecting High Costs Under ObamaCare, Theater Chain Slashes Work Hours

Regal Entertainment Group, the nation's largest movie theater chain, is reducing employees' work hours in an effort to escape ObamaCare's employee mandate.

Employees’ work hours are landing on the cutting-room floor at the nation’s largest movie theater chain, and according to the company, ObamaCare is to blame.

In March, Regal Entertainment Group, which operates over 500 theaters in 38 states, reduced non-salaried employees’ hours to 30 per week. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time employees — defined as those working more than 30 hours per week — are required to offer “affordable” health insurance to all those employees or pay a $2,000 penalty for each one who instead obtains subsidized insurance on an exchange. By keeping many employees from being classified as full-time, Regal will not be forced to offer them insurance, which can be very costly: $4,664 for an individual and $11,429 for a family, on average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Theater managers left to convey the bad news to their employees asked Regal for guidance on how best to explain the work reductions. In a memo obtained by Fox News, the company suggested this explanation: “To comply with the Affordable Care Act, Regal had to increase our health care budget to cover those newly deemed eligible based on the law’s definition of a full-time employee.”

“To manage this budget,” the memo continues, “all other employees will be scheduled in accord with business needs and in a manner that will not negatively impact our health care budget.”

The manager of one Regal theater told Fox News that the company’s hour slashing “has sparked a wave of resignations from full-time managers who have seen their hours cut by 25 percent or more.”

“In the last couple weeks, managers have been quitting on a daily basis from various locations to try and find full-time work,” said the manager, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Regal up until now has never restricted anyone to anything below 40 hours.”

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