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Franchise Industry: We’re Already Cutting Hours Because of Obamacare

Denny's cooks prepare breakfast plates in Emeryville, California
Denny's cooks prepare breakfast plates in Emeryville, CaliforniaPhotograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The latest front in the business lobby’s fight against the Affordable Care Act: changing the definition of “full-time.” The law counts workers who put in at least 30 hours a week as full-time; starting in 2015, employers with at least 50 of them will have to provide health insurance or pay a fine. Restaurants and retailers that rely heavily on part-time staff want the definition lifted to 40 hours, and some in Congress from both parties agree.

To advance the cause, the International Franchise Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce commissioned a survey (PDF) indicating that some employers have already cut hours and replaced full-time employees with part-timers to skirt the mandate. “We are already seeing the creation of a part-time economy by companies that would otherwise be leading economic growth,” Steve Caldeira, president of the International Franchise Association, said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.