How Walmart Screws Over Employee Hours to Avoid Obamacare—An Inside Look

walmartobamacareA couple of days ago I wrote an article about my past experiences as a former Walmart employee and how they really are an evil empire (well, I worked for Sam’s Club–which is owned by Walmart).

Recently, I spoke with a friend who currently still works for Sam’s Club and discussed their new scheduling system, which is designed to screw people out of health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare.”

As it turns out, Walmart came up with a new system for scheduling called “Member Needs Scheduling.”  What they tell employees is that it optimizes hours to have people there at the correct times based on sales in the previous years.  According to their propaganda, it’s a system set to be more efficient and customized to what the “members need.”

This, of course, is bullshit.  What this system really does is reduces shift times, cuts hours and makes it to where Walmart doesn’t have to pay its part-time employees health benefits.

See, Walmart recently made changes to how part-time employees qualify for health benefits.

How it breaks down is like this:

Anyone hired after Feb. 1, 2012, that doesn’t average 30 hours per week, lost their health care benefits this past January.  Part-time workers hired after Jan. 15, 2011, but before Feb. 1, 2012, kept their Walmart benefits if they work a minimum of 24 hours a week.

And that’s where “Member Needs Scheduling” comes in.  What this system does is schedule very short shifts for nearly every part-time employee.  It apparently schedules most 5 days a week for 4 hour shifts.  This is key because you need permission to work 6 or more days per week—Walmart requires 2 days off every week due to past legal issues.

Now you can pick up more shifts, except what this system apparently does is overlap many shifts, so that if you do want to pick up a shift you have to wait 4-6 hours between shifts or you’re unable to pick it up.  Even then, often you’re still not allowed to pick up a shift because they don’t like “schedule exceptions.”  Those have to be approved by a manager and if a manager approves too many “exceptions” then those managers have to answer to their regional bosses—which of course deters managers from allowing exceptions.

But good luck picking up shifts when nearly everyone is fighting for hours as it is.

What all of this means is employees are often scheduled the max amount of days allowed, at 4 hours per day, totaling 20 hours per week.  Granted this isn’t for every employee, just most.  Which would place most of them below the required threshold for Walmart to provide health benefits.

Of course, this schedule isn’t based on what “members need.”  My friend and source (who I trust completely) claims that they’re often left without openers or closers, and vital areas are left without anyone to work them because the system didn’t schedule anyone there.  Apparently everyone else is supposed to just “pick up the slack.”  It’s completely based on the best way to avoid giving employees health benefits.

But here’s the kicker—Walmart is actually paying more in wages than they have in previous years.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly.  Walmart cut individual employee hours, yet is paying more in wages overall (just not more per employee), just to avoid giving employees health benefits.

The Forbes 2012 world’s 3rd largest corporation is spending more on wages just so they can avoid giving employees the most basic of health benefits.

And of course who picks up the tab on these health benefits Walmart has decided to use loopholes to avoid paying?  Yup, you’ve guessed it—the American taxpayer.

I don’t care what you say, there’s something inherently wrong when a company, with 6 heirs worth a combined $90 billion, has built a scheduling system that screws over the lowest rung of hourly employees out of the most basic of health benefits while passing those burdens onto American taxpayers.

Walmart epitomizes what’s wrong with the greedy, soulless nature of big corporations and why we can’t allow these entities to have unregulated control over our society.

Because if you really think that if we had no minimum wage, little to no regulations on working conditions and eliminated EPA regulations, corporations like Walmart would act ethically—well, here’s your proof to the contrary.  Even with regulations they do all they can to give as little as possible to their employees.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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