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Whole Foods will take away healthcare from some of its employees starting January 1

Whole Foods will take away healthcare from some of its employees starting January 1
[Photo: Flickr user Tyler Cipriani]

Beginning January 1, 2020, Amazon-owned Whole Foods will end healthcare benefits for some of its employees, Business Insider reports. The company will cut medical and health benefits for up to 1,900 of its workers.

Currently, Whole Foods employees who work at least 20 hours per week are eligible for healthcare benefits, but the company is bumping the hourly threshold for medical benefits to a minimum of 30 hours per week in the new year.

Amazon confirmed the news on Thursday, but argues less than 2% of Whole Food’s workforce will be affected by the changes. A Whole Foods spokesperson said there was a silver lining to taking away some of its employees’ healthcare: Those employees would still get a 20% discount for things they buy at Whole Foods:

In order to better meet the needs of our business and create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model, we are moving to a single-tier part-time structure. 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.

The thing is, for Whole Foods employees who now will need to go out and purchase their own healthcare since their company is dropping their coverage, they probably won’t have the funds left to buy groceries—even at 20% off.

Update, Friday, 12:30 p.m. ET:

A Whole Foods spokesperson has now sent an updated statement, clarifying who would be affected:

“In order to better meet the needs of our business and create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model, we are moving to a single-tier part-time structure. The small percentage of part-time Team Members in the second tier 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 to buy into medical coverage through the company. 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.”

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