SeaWorld Pushing to Change Obamacare Requirements for Employees

Two of the biggest Florida-based companies -- SeaWorld and Publix -- are pushing for changes in the full-time worker standards for Obamacare.

Basically, with Obamacare, companies with 100 or more full-time employees must provide minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty of $2,000 to $3,000 per employee starting in 2015.

But the marine water park and grocery store chain want the 30-hours-a-week requirement to be changed to 40 hours a week, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

See also: Florida Is Becoming an Unlikely Obamacare Success Story

Other companies are in on the push as well, and the measure passed the U.S. House recently. But it faces an uphill battle when it reaches the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Moreover, President Obama is set on vetoing any measure that gets to him that will change his policy.

To avoid the expense of providing employers that are considered full-time at 30 hours a week, companies are looking for ways to cut those hours down to 28 or 29 to avoid the penalties.

Last year, SeaWorld began cutting part-time workers' hours from 32 to 28 hours a week to avoid penalties that will hit companies with 100 or more employees that do not insure their full-time workers. Companies have long complained that the policy will cost them millions.

See also: SeaWorld Attendance Falls; Major Investor Dumps Shares

However, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that keeping with the 40 hours policy would mean 1 million fewer people being covered by their jobs. The Budget Office says that that would increase the budget deficit by $73,7 billion, according to the Sentinel.

SeaWorld sent an email to the Sentinel regarding its reporting, saying in part that "while we don't comment on our specific lobbying efforts, I can tell you that we support the attractions, tourism, restaurant and other business groups that are calling for adjustment to the definition of full-time employees."

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph