Wegmans cuts health benefits for part-time workers

posted at 3:21 pm on July 11, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

If you live somewhere along the north eastern seaboard and have shopped at one of Wegmans 80+ glorious grocery stores, I’m going to go ahead and venture that you probably agree with me that it is The Most Fantastic Grocery Store in the history of grocery stores. My friends have often heard my vociferous, nay, my passionate remarks about how Wegmans is like Disneyland for grownups; in my experience, they have everything you could ever hope to find at either a Safeway or a Whole Foods, with reasonable prices and helpful employees to boot.

What’s more, Wegmans gets a bunch of accolades for taking the best care of its employees and its work environment. For sixteen consecutive years, they’ve been on the “Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For” list, coming in at number five for 2013:

Wegmans Food Markets

Rank: 5
Previous rank: 4
2011 revenue ($ millions): $6,335

What makes it so great?
Turnover is an exceptionally low 3.6% at the Northeastern grocery chain, which lets employees reward one another with gift cards for good service. Many workers like it there so much they bring in relatives—one in five employees are related.

And until now, Wegmans has voluntarily offered health plans for even their part-time employees who work only 20+ hours a week, although the law only requires them to do so for employees who work 30+ hours a week.

But no more.

The Rochester-based grocer that has been continually lauded for providing health insurance to its part-time workers will no longer offer that benefit. …

Several Wegmans employees confirmed part-time health benefits had been cut and said the company said the decision was related to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act. …

Wegmans declined to comment.

“As a private company, we don’t share specifics of our employee benefits programs. It’s a given that health care reform will result in some changes to our benefits program, but it will not change our commitment to meeting the needs of our employees,” Wegmans said in a statement.

The news item is quick to note that a certain ilk will interpret this as a positive; that employers dropping coverage is somehow a “win-win” because not only can these part-time employees, newly without the option of receiving health care plans through their employer, qualify for subsidized insurance plans with potentially more comprehensive coverage through ObamaCare’s exchanges (although, anyone can pretty much just lie about that requirement), but also that the “employer gets to lower costs.”

But, if the employees will (supposedly) be paying lower out-of-pocket costs, and the employer is no longer directly bearing the costs… who, exactly, is paying for all of this ostensibly stupendous coverage, as well as the expensive and top-heavy bureaucratic system through which it is going to come? Anyone? Anyone?


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