A Night At The Movies: Higher Costs, Less Hours For Employees
Religion & Liberty Online

A Night At The Movies: Higher Costs, Less Hours For Employees

If your next date night costs you more, you can thank Obamacare. Regal Entertainment Group, the country’s largest movie theater chain, has announced that it is cutting employee hours due to Obamacare related costs.

One Regal theater manager told FoxNews.com the move has sparked a wave of resignations from full-time managers who have seen their hours cut by 25 percent or more.

“In the last couple weeks, managers have been quitting on a daily basis from various locations to try and find full-time work,” said the manager, who asked not to be named. “Regal up until now has never restricted anyone to anything below 40 hours.”

Restaurants such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden are also trying to figure out ways to meet health-care costs, and that typically means cutting employee hours so that the employees do not meet full-time status, and thus do not require health care coverage. This “under-employment” is growing.

So-called “underemployment” is already a widespread problem in the weak economy, with many workers unable to get the hours they need to get by. According to an analysis by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the percentage of workers clocking in on a part-time basis grew from 17 percent in 2007 to 22 percent in 2011. Only 28 percent of companies that offer health benefits make them available to part-time employees, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

One website, Obamacarefacts, states that Obamacare will create jobs:

Small businesses have increasingly stopped providing health benefits to their employees over the past decade due to the ever rising cost of health care premiums. The rising costs don’t effect larger firms hiring processes. ObamaCare helps to regulate insurance making it more affordable to small businesses increasing job retention rate and making those jobs more attractive.

While jobs may be available, increasingly they will not come with health-care benefits. According to Ed Haislmaier, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, “If you want to have reduced work, lower wages and economic stagnation, this is a great way to do it.” Further, Haislmaier points out that a majority of states have opted out of – at least for now – health care “exchanges” that are part of Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  The costs for the states to set these exchanges up are high, impacting state budgets and these states consider the government plan to risky.

Obamacare is costing people money in many ways: lower salaries, higher consumer costs and taxes, and less consumer spending. Rather than dinner out and a movie, more Americans may be choosing dinner at home and a television program.


Elise Hilton

Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.