Obamacare Mandates Fuel Move Toward Temps and Part-Time Work

Full-time becomes too expensive


President Obama's health care reform is prompting employers to hire more part-time and temporary workers to escape paying benefits under a mandate that goes into effect next year, amplifying a trend toward transient employment that took hold during the recession, according to a growing number of economic indicators.

Hardest hit by the move toward cutting work hours and increasing temporary hiring are lower-income workers, millions of whom already lack health insurance and are afflicted with constant turnover in jobs at fast-food restaurants, big-box retailers and other businesses with large numbers of low-paid staff.

Wal-Mart, the nation's largest employer, is leading the trend, having increased the share of its temporary staff to 10 percent this year from between 1 percent and 2 percent last year, according to a Reuters survey of 52 Wal-Mart stores last month. It found that half of the stores were hiring only temporary workers — something Wal-Mart previously did only during the Christmas shopping season.