A group that opposes ObamaCare is out with a study showing that low-wage workers are getting fewer hours at their jobs. An Illinois Policy Institute paper shows that employees in the retail trade, food and beverage and general merchandise sectors worked 31 hours a week in 2011 and years prior (31 in 2008, 31.2 in 2009b and 2010, and 31.6 in 2011). In 2012, that figure dropped to 29.7, and so far this year, it’s 27.8.
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Naomi Lopez Bauman, director of health policy for the institute, says 30 hours is the cutoff beyond which employers must offer health insurance, so companies are cutting hours. “And it becomes a really difficult decision for the employer. If they’re going to be subject to very hefty penalties (for not offering health insurance), do they expand their business or do they keep it small? And I think a lot of them are choosing to keep it small,” she said. Businesses in these sectors account for about one-fifth of the state’s employment. Bauman says the hours lost have accumulated to the equivalent of 66,000 jobs.