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Wegmans will allow current part-time employees to work more hours in order to keep their employer-funded health insurance after it adopts more stringent standards that will make workers who are on the job for less than 30 hours a week ineligible for the benefits.

“Even though the new health care law is requiring some changes, we are not going to do anything that will hurt our employees,” Wegmans said in a statement.

The supermarket chain said current employees who need to work additional hours in order to qualify for full-time status and health insurance will be given the opportunity to do so. Under the new policy, which will not take effect until 2015 for existing part-timers, the company will only offer health insurance to employees who work 30 hours or more per week.

Wegmans has been lauded for its policy of offering employer-subsidized health insurance for part-time employees working more than 20 hours per week. But in response to changes brought by the Affordable Care Act, that will no longer be the case as of 2015.

Experts speculate Wegmans made the change so that qualifying part-time employees would be eligible for government-subsidized health care. Under the Affordable Care Act, part-time employees are not eligible for health insurance subsidies if their employer offers insurance.

Wegmans declined to comment on specifics of employee benefit plans. It is unclear what portion of an employee’s health care premium is paid by Wegmans and what portion is paid by the employee.

“We have met one-on-one with each impacted employee to reassure them and to let them know we are going to do everything we can to help them through these changes,” Wegmans said.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, said Wegmans’ decision to change its employee benefit policy is “one more example” of why “Obamacare” is “bad for business, bad for workers, bad for America.”

“Any time a person who is covered under an HMO is told they have to move to Medicaid, that’s a bad day for the American people,” Collins said.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com