“People First” strategy results in 1,500 additional employees gaining access to comprehensive health benefits.
The Cumberland Gulf Group, which includes Cumberland Farms, the highly successful 600-unit convenience store chain, and Gulf Oil, the nation’s fastest growing branded marketer of energy products, announced today that as part of its ongoing initiative to be one of the nation’s employers of choice, it will be proactively expanding its health care program to include approximately 1,500 additional employees effective Oct. 1, 2013.
The Cumberland Gulf Group has been formulating its strategy to address the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Healthcare Reform, since January of this year. Even though the new law does not become effective until Jan. 1, 2014, the Company has decided to implement its plan early; thus expanding the number of employees who will be eligible for health care benefits by moving a significant portion of its workforce from part-time to full-time status.
“We are a people-focused company and we fundamentally believe that it is our serious commitment to our people that will continue to set us apart in the marketplace,” said Ari Haseotes, president and chief operating officer of Cumberland Farms. “Investing in our employees is not just a smart thing to do—it is the right thing to do.”
Earlier this year the senior management team began to review viable options on how the Company should address the new federal mandate. This new law requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer medical coverage to those employees while also redefining a full-time employee to one that works 30 hours per week or more.
The Cumberland Gulf Group currently employs about 3,000 full time employees at 40 hours per week and 4,200 part-time employees. In order to aggressively pursue the extension of benefits to its part-time population, the company is reclassifying 1,500 part-time employees to full-time status, which will bring the mix of employees to approximately 4,500 full-time and 2,700 part-time.
Additionally, while many companies are waiting until 2014 to implement their solutions to the new mandate, the team was charged with implementing the new program as of Oct. 1, 2013 of this year, a full year ahead of when they would be required by the IRS to be in compliance.
Under the Health Care Reform “Pay or Play” scenario being evaluated by businesses across the country, some retailers will choose either the path of paying the IRS imposed penalty of $2,000 for every full time employee rather than pay for medical insurance, or begin scheduling many of their employees to under 30 hours per week to avoid full time classification. Cumberland Gulf is doing neither; instead it has chosen a path that best suits its culture of investing in its people.
“Finding and retaining qualified, productive employees is mission-critical for us, so we are committed to making Cumberland Gulf the ‘employer of choice’ and treating our employees as partners. With this decision, we are confident that we will continue to accomplish great things together,” said Haseotes.
In 2012, the Cumberland Group generated roughly $15.0 billion of sales through a footprint of 589 convenience store locations operated under the well-known Cumberland Farms banner and through the operations of its subsidiary Gulf Oil.