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New Health Coverage Policy at Walmart Announced
According to company policy from Walmart, the company is planning to deny health insurance coverage to newly hired workers who are on the job for less than 30 hours per week. The policy was acquired The Huffington Post. The policy is going to begin in January and it says that the company has the right to eliminate healthcare coverage for specific workers if the average workweek drops under 30 hours.
The company did not mention how many employees out of its 1.4 million people workforce are in danger of losing their medical insurance under the policy.
“Walmart is effectively shifting the costs of paying for its employees onto the federal government with this new plan, which is one of the problems with the way the law is structured,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
Nelson Lichtenstein, the director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara said, “Walmart likely thought it didn’t need to offer this part-time coverage anymore with Obamacare. This is another example of a tremendous government subsidy to Walmart via its workers.”
The new policy from Walmart puts employees’ benefits at risk because they do not have any control over their own schedules. The company utilizes an advanced scheduling system to schedule the workers based on the traffic in the store and the sales figures, which Walmart claims helps improve efficiency and flexibility.
Walmart’s new policy has been published in the company’s 2013 “Associate’s Benefits Book.” The plan states that part-time employees who were hired in or after 2011 can be subject to an “Annual Benefits Eligibility Check” every August. During the meeting, the manager will look at the average hours the employee worked each week over the past year.
The book also said that part-time employees who were hired after February 1, 2012 and do not hit 30 hours per week, will have their benefits revoked the following January. The policy says that part-time employees hired from January 15, 2011 to January 31, 2012 have to work at least 24 hours per week to keep their coverage. They will also be reviewed each year. Anyone employed by the company prior to 2011 will not be subjected to the minimum hours requirement or the annual eligibility checks.
Full-time employees who lose hours, dropping them to part-time during any time of the year, will have their spouses’ health coverage revoked immediately. The dental and life insurance policies for those employees will be revoked the following pay period.