McDonald's denies threat to drop benefits

Sept. 30, 2010 at 3:39 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- McDonald's has issued a statement calling "completely false" media reports the company was considering dropping healthcare coverage for its employees.

The reports are "purely speculative and misleading," the statement said.

The company and its franchisees "have been a leader in offering a fully insured limited benefit plan to hourly restaurant employees for more than 10 years," the corporate statement said.

The Wall Street Journal had reported McDonald's threatened to terminate health benefits for almost 30,000 hourly workers.

The newspaper said that trade groups representing restaurants and retailers oppose a requirement in the health-reform law that 80 percent to 85 percent of premiums be spent on benefits, the Chicago-Tribune reported.

McDonald's, in a memo to federal officials, said, "it would be economically prohibitive for our carrier to continue offering" the plan unless it got an exemption from the requirement, the Journal report said.

McDonald's said in its statement it was not going to drop coverage.

"Regardless of how the regulations evolve over the next several months, McDonald's is committed to providing competitive pay and benefits, and the strongest employment opportunities possible," it said.

The company acknowledged it has spoken with regulators "to better understand the implications of the law and to share our point of view," Steve Russell, senior vice president and chief people officer for McDonald's USA, said in the company's statement.

"Moving forward, we will continue to have an open dialogue with legislators as well as regulators," he said.

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