ObamaCare Looms: OliveGarden RedLobster LongHorn SteakHouse Cutting Full Time to Part Time

The Darden Restaurant chain is testing four markets to see how employing part-timers might work better than full time employees with ObamaCare looming on the horizon. The government mandates, known today as a tax, do not apply to part time employees.

UPDATE 11:40 pm CDT: The owner of Darden Restaurants has had a relationship with Obama and received an ObamaCare waiver in 2012. The CEO, Clarence Otis have contributed more than $94,000 in the last three elections cycles, almost all of it to Democrats (whatever that means).  Otis has been to the White House at least three times, had lunch with Obama, met with Valerie Jarrett. Darden is an “ardent supporter” of Michelle Obama. Read it here.

In an emailed statement, Darden said staffing changes are “just one of the many things we are evaluating to help us address the cost implications health care reform will have on our business. There are still many unanswered questions regarding the health care regulations and we simply do not have enough information to make any decisions at this time.”

Analysts say many other companies, including the White Castle hamburger chain, are considering employing fewer full-timers because of key features of the Affordable Care Act scheduled to go into effect in 2014. Under that law, large companies must provide affordable health insurance to employees working an average of at least 30 hours per week.

If they do not, the companies can face fines of up to $3,000 for each employee who then turns to an exchange — an online marketplace — for insurance.

“I think a lot of those employers, especially restaurants, are just going to ensure nobody gets scheduled more than 30 hours a week,” said Matthew Snook, partner with human-resources consulting company Mercer.

Darden said its goal at the test restaurants is to keep employees at 28 hours a week. Source: Orlando Sentinel.

These are not unintended consequences. It is exactly what the Obama administration knew would have to happen.

At a new Olive Garden in Stillwater, Okla., former busboy Keaton Hasty said employees were routinely limited to 29 1/2 hours.

“It was 29 1/2, and they’d kick you out,” said Hasty, a college student who now works at a pharmacy. “They’d always print off a little slip every day and say who was getting close.”

And Michael Walker said when he applied for a job at a new Olive Garden in Hammond, La., he was told that except for a few “key training positions,” only part-time jobs were available for hourly workers.

“Without having full health care … I don’t see that as an option,” Walker said. He decided to stick with his current job at another restaurant.

Ha! I bet they are both Obama voters.

Welcome to ObamaCare. Part-timers become government insured, eventually single-payer insured. If you think that’s a good idea, you are an idiot!

  • Geo

    Don’t you just love it, when a plan comes together?

    Who could’ve predicted this? Oh wait. . . . . . .

  • Kevin

    I work for the company and cant believe this. So many obama supporters in my store will be upset haha.