Add Virginia to the list of states that are cutting work hours to avoid offering health insurance to part-time employees.
About 10,000 Virginia public employees are poised to see their hours cut back as Gov. Bob McDonnell continues to find ways around what he said were President Obama’s costly health care reforms.
Both the Virginia House and Senate passed budget amendments that will cap part-time state workers at 29 hours a week to avoid complying with a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires businesses and governments to offer health insurance to any wage employee who averages 30 hours a week.
The cutbacks affect the Virginia Community College System and Virginia Commonwealth University the most adversely, as the former hires 1,479 part-time workers and VCU employs 883 of the same.
The plan is supposed to save the state $110 million a year.
While restaurants such as Papa John’s and Red Lobster have already threatened to do this, some franchise owners have added surcharges to pay for the mandated benefits.
Liberals argue that these employers are “punishing” their workers and customers for President Obama’s election. I don’t accept this argument.
Simply, when prices increase because of taxes or regulations such as the ACA, businesses must respond by either increasing prices or releasing workers to reduce costs. The point of a business is to earn profit by providing a service or product; providing health insurance for part-time workers adds significant expenses, those that these businesses avoided because they couldn’t viably afford them in the first place.
Virginia Secretary of Administration Lisa Hicks-Thomas articulates it effectively: “We’re all grappling with the same problem. A lot of people are trying to spin this as Republicans trying to fight Obamacare, but this is just us complying with the act. We don’t have $110 million to afford the implementations of this act.”