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Whole Foods is cutting medical benefits for hundreds of part-time workers

Sep 13, 2019, 02:03 IST

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

  • Whole Foods is cutting medical benefits for hundreds of part-time workers.
  • The Amazon-owned company told Business Insider that it is cutting benefits "to better meet the needs of our business and create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model."
  • "I am in shock," said one Whole Foods worker. "I've worked here 15 years. This is why I keep the job - because of my benefits."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Whole Foods is cutting medical benefits for hundreds of part-time workers, the company confirmed to Business Insider on Thursday.

The changes will take effect on January 1, 2020 and impact less than 2% of Whole Foods' total workforce, a Whole Foods spokesperson told Business Insider. Since Whole Foods has about 95,000 employees, this means fewer than 1,900 people will lose their benefits.

The benefits that the company is cutting are offered to part-time employees who work at least 20 hours a week. The changes will not impact full-time employees.

Whole Foods said it is making the change "to better meet the needs of our business and create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model."

"The small percentage of part-time team members ... who previously opted into medical benefits through Whole Foods Market's healthcare plan - less than 2% of our total workforce - will no longer be eligible for medical coverage through the company," the Whole Foods spokesperson said.

Read more: Walmart US CEO says half his store visits make him 'grumpy' - and he's turning up the heat on managers

"We are providing team members with resources to find alternative healthcare coverage options, or to explore full-time, healthcare-eligible positions starting at 30 hours per week. All Whole Foods Market team members continue to receive employment benefits including a 20% in-store discount."

A 15-year employee of Whole Foods said she was devastated by the news.

She told Business Insider in an interview that her family - including her husband and kids - are all covered by the health insurance plan she is enrolled in through her job at Whole Foods.

She said she will have to increase her hours to become eligible for full-time benefits and pay for childcare, or shop for a new - and potentially more expensive - health insurance plan on the private marketplace.

She asked for anonymity in order to speak freely about the subject without fear of retribution.

"I am in shock," she said. "I've worked here 15 years. This is why I keep the job - because of my benefits."

If you work for Whole Foods, reach out to this reporter at hpeterson@businessinsider.com.

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