PhotoStarting January 1, nearly 2,000 part-time Whole Foods employees will lose the medical benefits they previously received through the company.

The grocery retailer, which was acquired by Amazon in 2017, told Business Insider on Thursday that it will be withdrawing benefits "to better meet the needs of our business and create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model."

Whole Foods said it’s moving to a “single-tier part-time structure” and providing its employees with resources to find other healthcare coverage options. Alternatively, employees slated to lose their benefits may choose to look into full-time, healthcare-eligible positions. 

Going forward, the option to participate in the Whole Foods’ health-care plan will be extended to employees who work a minimum of 30 hours per week. Previously, employees needed to work at least 20 hours a week to buy into the plan. Whole Foods said the policy change will affect just under 2 percent of its workforce. 

Last year, Amazon raised the starting wage for its hourly workers -- including those who work at Whole Foods -- to $15 an hour. 


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