Obamacare Blamed For Cutback In Work Hours At American’s Biggest Movie Theater Chain

Another employer has determined that the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. Obamacare just isn’t affordable.

Or maybe in this particular instance healthcare reform is “box office poison.”

Obamacare is the stated reason thousands of Regal Entertainment Group hourly employees will be working less than 30 hours per week from now on. Regal claims it has no choice but to roll back the employee workweek below the Obamacare threshold because the law forces employers to provide health insurance coverage to everyone who works at least 30 hours.

Many other employers in America are already cutting employee hours or have indicated that they will involuntarily downgrade workers into part-time status in the near future. Apart from passing increased costs to the customer to cover the healthcare budget, the other option for employers is to cough up a $2,000 fine per employee if they fail to offer health insurance to eligible workers.

In June, the Supreme Court allowed Obamacare to go into effect in a 5-4 decision based on the legal theory that it is a constitutional tax even though the administration denied all along that the mandate was a tax.

Regal officials maintain that, because of the increased costs involved in covering “newly deemed eligible” full-time employees in compliance with Obamacare, they had to trim the budget somewhere else. This presumably means scaling back the shifts of ushers, popcorn vendors, and even theater managers as well as many other workers employed by the theater chain across the country.

Regal operates about 500 theaters in 38 states under the Regal Cinemas, Edwards Theatres, and United Artist Theatres brands and is America’s largest chain of movie venues.

Many full-time managers have already apparently bailed on the company after being hit with a 25 percent reduction in weekly work hours. An unnamed Regal theater manager summed up the Regal Cinemas-Obamacare situation as follows:

“Mandating businesses to offer health care under threat of debilitating fines does not fix a problem, it creates one. It fosters a new business culture where 30 hours is now considered the maximum in order to avoid paying the high costs associated with this law.”

Added the manager: “In a time where 40 hours is just getting us by, putting these kind of financial pressures on employers is a big step in a direction far beyond the reach of feasibility for not only the businesses, but for the employees who rely on their success.”

Has Obamacare affected the status of your employment?