Trader Joe’s fans are now going to have a harder time defending the store’s “great treatment” of workers. Famous for providing health benefits to even part-time employees, the company announced that all those who work under 30 hours a week will no longer be eligible for company-provided insurance in the new year. Instead they will be forced to pick their insurance policy from the exchanges created under the Affordable Health Care Act.

In a memo obtained by The Huffington Post dated Aug. 30, CEO Dan Bane tells employees that Trader Joe’s will help guide them through the process of choosing new insurance as well as give them a $500 check for their troubles. He even points out that if they have another job, the part-timers might be getting an even better deal!

"Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe's we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe's and the tax credits available under the ACA, many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you.”

This announcement has apparently caused many employees who work close to 30 hours a week to worry about their schedules, as their eligibility for insurance will be based on their work hours in the next three months. But these work hours, Trader Joe's says, aren't about the employees; they're about the customers.

"It is important to note ... we do not create our weekly schedules with healthcare eligibility in mind," Bane wrote. "Rather, we will continue to create weekly schedules that are solely focused on supporting the customer experience."

Trader Joe’s also said in an emailed statement that more than 77 percent of employees will see no change in insurance coverage, and of those who do see a change, they estimate “more than 70 percent will pay less for comparable health insurance on the exchanges.”

[Image via Getty]