Politics

California Obamacare Call Center Hired Part-Time Employees, Denying Them Health Insurance

| by Jonathan Wolfe
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A call center that will promote and inform the public about Obamacare is under fire today for offering half its employees part-time work. The criticism stems from the fact that under Obamacare, employers are not required to provide part-time employees with health insurance benefits.

More than 7,000 California residents applied for 180 positions at the Concord, California call center. Most believed that the jobs at the center would be full-time and come with health insurance.

“It’s is very disappointing. I was under the impression these were going to be well-paying, well-compensated positions,” county supervisor Mary Piepho said. “We were really hopeful these would be jobs meeting the unemployment needs in our county and offer them the ability to make a living and support their families.”  

But Contra Costa Deputy County Administrator Theresa Spieker says the employee dynamic of the call center has been clear from the project’s inception.

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“In open session and in (staff reports) we've been pretty clear that not all will be full-time jobs," Speiker said.

One county supervisor, Karen Mitchoff, whose jurisdiction includes the call center, says she, and her constituents, feel deceived by the number of part-time jobs at the center.

“The battle for the call center was over jobs with good working wages and benefits; I never dreamed they would be part-time," she said. Mitchoff also expressed “extreme displeasure” with how employment at the center is being handled.

The center is slated to open on October 1 of this year. For the first three months, the center will be open 72 hours a week. After that period, the center will only be open for 59 hours a week. Full-time employees will work at the center during the standard 40-hour work week, and part-time employees will handle the additional hours.

One employee, who asked to remain anonymous, feels deceived. According to the employee, job advertisements for the center listed all jobs at the center as full time.

“What's really ironic is working for a call center and trying to help people get health care, but we can't afford it ourselves," the employee said 

(Daily Mail, Contra Costa Times)