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Small Businesses Trying to Adapt to Affordable Care Act

Small businesses in the Wiregrass are preparing for the new Affordable Care Act and what it means for their employees in the coming years.

For small businesses 50 is the magic number. If they have more than 50 employees then they are required, under the new health care law, to pay for employees' health insurance but that leaves businesses searching for funds. Smaller restaurants historically haven't offered benefits to employees because of the fast turn over of employees.

"Health insurance would add probably a quarter of a million dollars to my payroll. It would eat me alive," said Ron Jones, operating partner of PoFolks in Enterprise.

Because of this, many businesses like small retail stores or restaurants are making sure they don't keep more than the 50 full time employees.

"All of a sudden I have to go from 15 or 16 full time employees out of 40 to four," Jones said.

And with all those hours gone that employees once had, in many cases they're left to find a second job.

Jones believes that the problem will grow further than with just his business, even having widespread economic implications.

"It'll affect everybody's business because, see if my people don't have money to spend at other businesses in town it's going to be cutting their sales. It's a survival thing after a while," Jones said.

Jones says that if his restaurant and the other locations that share the 50 employee max went over that number then the prices for customers would see prices rise--something he doesn't want to happen.

"The heatlh care cost could easily be the same as my pay roll and where is that going to come from? We're going to have to pass it on to the consumer?" said Jones.

That's what Jones and many other small business leaders are trying to keep from happening.

The Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Alliance is hosting seminars in September for small businesses to better understand the implementation of law.

For more information on the seminars go to https://m360.alabamarestaurants.com/admin/forms/ViewForm.aspx?id=50074
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