“Wikimedia Commons A Staples storefront. Part-time Staples workers are furious that they could be fired for working more than 25 hours a week.
The company implemented the policy to avoid paying benefits under the Affordable Care Act, reports Sapna Maheshwari at Buzzfeed. The healthcare law mandates that workers with more than 30 hours a week receive healthcare.
If Staples doesn’t offer benefits, it could be fined $3,000 in penalties per person.
Buzzfeed spoke with several Staples workers who revealed their hours have been drastically cut over the past year. Many reported working as few as 20 hours.
The workers started a petition on Change.org asking the company not to “cut part-time hours because of Obamacare.”
“This new policy includes termination of GENERAL MANAGERS if employees ever go over 25 hours a week!” the petition reads.”This has lead to some bizarre stories of General Managers telling part-time employees to ‘leave now or be fired’ in the middle of transactions with customers.”
The petition has 200,000 signatures.
Staples is cutting costs and closing stores as sales continue to slump.
The company just acquired Office Depot for $6.3 billion. Combined, the two retailers have 58,000 employees.
But it’s likely that Staples will downsize its workforce as the companies merge.
In a statement to Business Insider, Staples denied the policy is a response to the Affordable Care Act.
“Staples™ policy regarding part-time associates weekly hours pre-dates the Affordable Care Act by many years. Some managers may have reiterated the existing policy to our associates as part of our ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of our stores. In fact, this policy has been in place for more than a decade.”