Readying For Obamacare: Walmart Adding More Temp Workers

Reuters is reporting that Walmart stores have a new hiring strategy: They’re adding more temporary workers. Walmart isn’t saying they’re doing it in advance of the Obamacare deadline which will require that companies either pay a penalty or provide health coverage (meeting expensive federal mandates) to all permanent, full-time employees but I think we can read between the lines:

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc has in recent months been only hiring temporary workers at many of its U.S. stores, the first time the world’s largest retailer has done so outside of the holiday shopping season.

A Reuters survey of 52 stores run by the largest U.S. private employer in the past month, including one in every U.S. state, showed that 27 were hiring only temps, 20 were hiring a combination of regular full, part-time and temp jobs, and five were not hiring at all. The survey was based on interviews with managers, sales staff and human resource department employees at the stores.

The new hiring policy is to ensure “we are staffed appropriately,” when the stores are busiest and is not a cost-cutting move, said company spokesman David Tovar. Temporary workers, he said, are paid the same starting pay as other workers.

Walmart says that just 10% of their US workforce is temporary, but then it seems these new hiring practices are pretty new too.

Regardless, there’s no question that the Obamacare insurance mandate is leading us toward a part-time economy. The law is depressing full-time, permanent employment by making the cost of full-time, permanent employment dramatically more expensive.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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