Major companies like Fatburger continue to find and abuse legal loopholes in an effort to skirt new Obamacare policies that would force them to provide health insurance to full-time workers. In this new example, Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn told CNNMoney Monday about Fatburger’s “job sharing” program that serves to employ workers part-time at multiple Fatburger restaurants. The result is that these workers put in over the 30 hours of work, but because they only work “part time” at two or three different Fatburgers, they do not qualify for benefits.
The key to the legal loophole is that each Fatburger is technically owned by a different person. Employees are not employed by Fatburger corporate, but instead by the individual fast-food restaurants they work in. Technically, the only connection any two Fatburger restaurants share is their name. Under this loophole, an employee could work 20 hours at one Fatburger, and 25 at another; Neither Fatburger would be required to provide the employee benefits of any kind.
This loophole is pretty evil, but it may actually be a kinder path to take regarding low-wage employees. At many other corporations like Wal-Mart, employees have simply had their hours cut down below the threshold. This cut provides a double whamming for America’s working and lower-class employees: they still do not receive health insurance, and no longer make the same salary they once did. With this loophole, employees may at least maintain their work hours, and thus their weekly pay.
Mandated insurance policies are still a year away, but companies like Fatburger are already making moves to skirt the upcoming rules. It is still unknown whether these economic decisions will prove to be worth the money they save, versus the bad PR and employee morale they constantly create.