Best Buy cutting 650 Geek Squad jobs
New York — Best Buy Co. is laying off about 650 employees from its Geek Squad division, according to a report by KARE 11.
The report said the company is eliminating positions that service appliances and televisions in customer’s homes. Best Buy said it is not getting rid of home service, but is restructuring it and realigning its work force across all service channels.
If laid off workers are unable to find another position within Best Buy, their last day will be Aug. 1, the report said.
White House to meet with retail leaders on Affordable Care Act implementation issues
New York — White House officials have agreed to meet with members of the retail industry to discuss issues associated with implementation of the health reform law, responding to the industry’s July 2 letter urging the administration to immediately release “long overdue” regulations that would allow employers to move forward on the law’s requirements.
The most important policy issue for retailers is clarification of how the administration intends to define a “full-time employee,” said officials with the Retail Industry Leaders Association. Employers have also pressed for a transition phase during which employers who offer coverage in good faith would be exempt from penalties.
The July 2 letter aimed to send a message that these regulations are past due, and RILA is pleased that top White House advisers took notice, said RILA VP government relations Christine Pollack. With less than a year and a half before the statute goes into effect, employers need regulations — not bulletins or guidance — in order to move ahead, according to Pollack.
A key issue, Pollack explained is how the administration intends to define a “full-time employee.” The administration currently is proposing that a full-time employee should work an average 30 hours per week, and would allow employers a three-month “look back” period when determining hours. The administration had originally suggested allowing employers a three-12 month lookback, which RILA says it would prefer.
Many employers also seek a more flexible approach for determining FTE status in order to prevent possible churn between employer coverage and exchange coverage for certain employees, which is another key concern amongst retail and other employers that have varying work hours, Pollack said.
RILA and other employer groups, including members of the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care Coalition, are also urging the administration to create a transition period until 2016 during which time employers working in good faith to comply with regulations would not be penalized.
“RILA is gravely concerned that overly burdensome, inflexible regulations will cause millions of Americans to churn in and out of the employer-sponsored system,” the letter says. “Employers of variable workforces face unique challenges. RILA strongly urges that regulations recognize these unique challenges by including flexible approaches that can avoid the revolving door, or churn, effect of employees bouncing between employer-sponsored plans, Exchange coverage, or federal health programs.”
Unemployment claims fall more than forecast
Washington, D.C. — A report issued Thursday by the Labor Department showed that applications for jobless benefits fell 14,000 in the week ended June 30, to 374,000.
The news eased some concern that the labor market is faltering further.
“Before today it was pretty clear the labor market had softened over the past few months,” Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., told Bloomberg. “Today’s reports show a little bright spot.”