If you plan on visiting Florida and eating at a certain restaurant chain, you might find something odd on your receipt.
A few Gator's Dockside locations have added a 1 percent "ACA surcharge" to diners' tabs, according to CNNMoney. That's ACA, as in Affordable Care Act, as in "Obamacare."
The extra charge is no surprise to patrons when they're paying for meals -- there are signs posted on the door and at tables that read:
The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors. Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator's Dockside locations have implemented a 1 percent surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.
Why the surcharge?
By "ACA compliance," Gator's Dockside may be referring to Obamacare's "employer mandate," which requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance coverage or face a penalty. However, the mandate doesn't take effect until next year.
Large employers with 100 or more full-timers will have to provide coverage to 70 percent of their employees in 2015. That amount increases to 95 percent in 2016 and the years that follow, according to the latest Obamacare tweak.
According to reports, eight of the 21 Gator's Dockside locations across Florida have implemented the Obamacare surcharge. About half of the 500 employees at those restaurants work full time. Currently, only managers have health insurance; other full-timers will gain it in December, at an estimated cost of $500,000 per year.
Pressing need -- or political stunt?
"I'm just trying to keep the employees I have that I've worked hard to train," Sandra Clark, director of operations for Gator's Dockside Group Inc., told CNNMoney. She said the added charge for diners will guarantee that the company can keep providing full-time hours for so many employees.
Orlando, Fla.-based economic consultant Hank Fishkind scoffs at the surcharge. "It's clearly political," he told Reuters.
What are your thoughts? Is this a company publicity stunt? Do you believe that other restaurant chains will impose a similar Obamacare fee on customers?
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