President Barack Obama said "shame on them" after being asked about reports that Staples is banning part-time workers from putting in more than 25 hours a week in order to dodge paying benefits under Obamacare.
In an interview with BuzzFeed published Wednesday, Obama said that Staples should be more than able to afford to provide affordable healthcare for its workers.
"I haven't looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security, and if they can’t, then they should be willing to allow those workers to get the Affordable Care Act without cutting wages," he said.
Earlier this year, Staples reportedly told part-time employees they could be fired for working more than 25 hours a week. The company implemented the policy to avoid paying benefits under the Affordable Care Act, according to BuzzFeed.
The healthcare law mandates that employees who work more than 30 hours a week receive healthcare. Staples could be fined $3,000 per employee if it does not comply with the law.
Some workers said their hours have been cut drastically since Staples implemented the new policy. Although the retailer denied the policy is a result of the Affordable Care Act, some workers blamed Obama for the change. In his interview with BuzzFeed, Obama panned the "excuse" for the reported policy shift.
"When I hear large corporations that make billions of dollars in profits trying to blame our interest in providing health insurance as an excuse for cutting back workers’ wages," he told BuzzFeed, "shame on them."
Staples, which recently acquired Office Depot, had a profit of $6.22 billion in 2014, but sales are in a slump. The company has been cutting costs and closing stores.