Virginia slashes employee hours because of ObamaCare

ObamaCare cartoon

ThinkProgress, a well known Leftist blog, reported yesterday that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s new budget will slash some employees’ hours to avoid the mandates of ObamaCare:

As part of his state’s new budget, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his administration are trying to force potentially tens of thousands of public sector employees in the state to work fewer hours so that the government can avoid providing them health care.

Under Obamacare, employers are required to offer health insurance options for any employee working 30 hours or more per week. So McDonnell and his team have slipped language into the state’s budget bill requiring that any hourly waged workers employed by the state put in no more than 29 hours a week.

Many businesses have been doing the same thing. Back in November, the Wall Street Journal reported that a number of restaurants, hotels, and retailers were trimming hours to avoid the costs of ObamaCare. While this may seem unfair, the mandates that employers would be left with would impose increased costs that would be born by consumers through higher prices.

Although I disagree with the title of his post, which states that employers are “screw[ing] workers,” James Joyner explains that Virginia has only a few ways to get around the increased costs of ObamaCare:

The Commonwealth of Virginia isn’t a for profit business. But it, too, operates in a state of fiscal reality. If it’s forced to provide—and I’m making these numbers up out of thin air—$6000 a year in healthcare benefits to workers who were previously making $18,000 a year, they’ve got three basic options, all of which suck. First, they can make sure workers who were previously going slightly over 30 hours a week stay under that threshold. Second, they can fire one worker in three. Third, they can raise taxes enough to cover a one-third increase in worker costs.

It’s not ideal, but it’s reasonable to scale back hours to avoid the increased costs. But ultimately, it’s not employers sticking it to employees, it’s the trickle-down effect of another ill conceived government regulation.

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