Workers at a popular apparel chain just received some bad news.
In a memo to employees, Trendy retailer Forever 21 says that it is cutting the working hours of some store sales people, stock clerks and maintenance staff to under 29.5 hours a week. The company says the move is meant to restructure its workforce to handle an expected sales decline, but critics accuse the company of attempting to deflect health insurance costs that will kick in when the Affordable Care Act takes effect, the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes.
Forever 21, which generated $3.4 billion in sales and employs about 30,000, says that the changes will affect less than 1% of its employees in the U.S.
In addition to the reduced hours store workers medical, vision and dental coverage for affected store workers is also being dropped.
News of the changes sparked a wave of critical comments posted on Forever 21′s Facebook (FB) page as well as other social media platforms.
Under the health care act, championed by President Barack Obama, companies with more than 50 workers must offer health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week or incur penalties. Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced that it would postpone implementation of the law for businesses until 2015.