Sodexo re-establishes health benefits for college employees

BOSTON—After booting several thousand cafeteria workers off its health care plan last year, the food service company Sodexo has had a change of heart.

The Associated Press reports that French food giant announced Thursday that it would reestablish health care benefits for many employees who have lost coverage since January.

Sodexo—which employs 4,800 cafeteria workers on 30 university campuses in Massachusetts, according to The Boston Globe—had originally argued that Obamacare was forcing the company to rethink the way it distributed health care benefits.

The Affordable Care Act (as had Massachusetts’s 2006 health care reform legislation) imposes heavy penalties on employers who fail to provide health coverage for full-time employees, but Sodexo managed to skirt those restrictions reaction the the national law by reclassifying many employees as part-time.

Someone who works more than 30 hours a week is legally considered a full-time employee. But when Sodexo started to use average hours clocked over a year to determine eligibility, many of its workers fell short.

Those people were often university cafeteria workers. Although cafeteria workers often log more than the requisite 30 hours during the school year, many fell short when Sodexo included the summer months that school cafeterias lie vacant into its weekly average calculations. That pushed them into part-time territory, leaving them to find health coverage on their own.

After changing course Thursday, the company says it plans to reestablish those workers as full-time employees, once again eligible for insurance.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The menu served at Ottawa General Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, is headed for an overhaul after its CEO and management team ate a strict hospital food diet for a week and were unhappy with their options. The foodservice department has been fielding patient complaints for years, but decided to take action after facing the issue head on.

“Getting food managers to eat three meals of hospital food a day for a week brought the point home that much of the food being served was bland, institutional and not what people would normally eat,” Director of Food Services Kevin Peters told Ottawa...

Industry News & Opinion

With overtime pay likely to become a reality for some salaried foodservice employees after Dec. 1, operators are rethinking what they expect managers to do off-site as part of their responsibilities. Answering email or scheduling shifts at home didn’t matter when the employees were exempted from overtime if they earned more than $23,660 per year. But with that threshold more than doubling on Dec. 1 to $47,476, a half hour spent here and there on administrative tasks could push a salaried manager over the 40-hours-per-week threshold and entitle him or her to overtime. And how does the...

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

FSD Resources