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  • Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market is cutting healthcare benefits for 1,900 part-time employees.
  • The estimated total cost of these benefits is approximately $19 million a year.
  • Jeff Bezos made 4.4 million dollars an hour in 2018.
  • In about 4.5 hours of work, Bezos could cover the entire cost of these part-time employee benefits every year.

It was announced last week that Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market would be cutting healthcare benefits for anyone working fewer than 30 hours a week.

Whole Foods Market was purchased by Amazon in 2017, and made promises to keep things as they were throughout the merger. The grocery store chain has always prided itself on its benefits. And despite the natural grocery chain CEO John Mackey being against public health insurance and Whole Foods Market employees unionizing, he did always suggest that the the company would take care of its own in order to attract and retain grocery talent.

But now with last week's announcement, 1,900 Whole Foods Market employees will lose their healthcare benefits if they don't increase their hours from 20 per week to 30 per week. While this might not be a big transition for some, for others, asking for another 10 hours a week could be difficult and the resulting loss in coverage could cause drastic problems.

We wanted to get a picture of the true cost of this change in benefits. While we can't divine Amazon's reasoning behind the change, knowing how Amazon operates almost entirely on metrics, there is probably some internal number being tracked that suggests this will be better for business. But judging by the negative press around this story over the last week, it does seem to act as bellwether for the ever growing gap in wealth across the United States.

Doing a quick calculation with existing publicly available numbers shows that Bezos makes more money than the cost of an entire year of benefits for these 1,900 employees in somewhere between 2-6 hours.

Currently, corporations pay somewhere between $5,000-$15,000 for entry level healthcare benefits [1, 2]. Taking the middle of this range, Whole Foods Market pays about $19,000,000 per year for these 1,900 employees to have some form of healthcare benefit.

According to a study done by Business Insider, Jeff Bezos made over 4.4 million dollars an hour in 2018. Over about 4.5 hours, that totals over 19 million dollars, or enough to cover the cost of all 1,900 part time employee's healthcare.

Sources:

  1. https://www.business.com/articles/health-insurance-costs-this-year/
  2. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/09/employers-to-spend-about-10000-on-health-care-for-each-worker.html
  3. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-money-billionaires-celebrities-make-per-hour-2018-8