Starbucks Not Cutting Workers' Benefits As Obamacare Nears

Unlike many other companies, Starbucks announced on Monday that it won't cut workers' benefits ahead of the US Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

The healthcare reform bill has seen criticism from several businesses. In response, they have announced that they will either cut hours or health insurance benefits to offset the cost of the new law.

But Starbucks won't follow the trend. Instead, CEO Howard Schultz told Reuters that the company will continue providing benefits for partners.

Schultz added that the coffee company "won't use the new law as excuse to cut benefits or lower benefits for its workers." The 2010 healthcare reform law will require companies with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance benefits to workers who work a minimum of 30 hours.

Starbucks already does that -- and more. The Seattle-based company offers benefits to part-timers who work at least 20 hours a week. But the company appears to be one of the few. Yahoo! Finance notes that United Parcel Service (UPS) told its workers last week that non-union employees' spouses will no longer qualify for health insurance benefits if they get coverage through the company.

A survey released in March by consultant Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health also found that four percent of large employers followed UPS' trend. Those companies will exclude spouses from their health plan in 2013. That number will increase to eight percent in 2014.

Some businesses are also either keeping their staffing numbers under 50 or cutting their employees' hours to 30 or less to avoid having to provide healthcare. The Starbucks CEO added that some of the businesses are "lobbying for the cut-off to be at 40 hours." But that is unlikely to happen.

Because of Starbucks' current benefits program, the change Obamacare makes to health insurance coverage won't affect the gourmet coffee giant. Instead, it is business as usual for Starbucks.

[Image via dailin /]