Restaurants Hire Part-Time Workers to Solve New Healthcare Law Demands

Author: Hans & Associates, P.C.

Several large restaurant chains are testing a new solution as a way to comply with the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The problem that the Affordable Healthcare Act presents for the hospitality industry is that as a low-paying industry, it does not offer its employees benefits. Under the new law, any employer with 50 or more full-time employees must provide their employees and the employees’ dependents with healthcare coverage.

Darden Restaurants, the company that owns the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Long-horn Steakhouse and other well-known restaurant chains has begun decreasing its percentage of full-time workers and exchanging them for part-time workers. Employees working under 30 hours a week qualify as part-time employees. Yahoo Finance  reports that Darden employs about 180,000 people through more than 2,000 restaurants that it operates in the United States and Canada. An estimated 75 percent of its employees are now part-time workers.

McDonald’s is another large chain looking at reducing full-time workers as a solution to the economic crunch that the new healthcare law creates for hospitality businesses.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 60 percent of U.S. companies with 200 or more workers offer workers healthcare benefits as compared with only 48 percent of companies that employ three to nine workers and offer healthcare.

The other question that arises is whether Congress will pass additional legislation to prevent employers from shifting their work force to part-time employees as a means of avoiding healthcare benefits.

Working in the hospitality industry requires staying up-to-date with employment law concerns, ranging from wage and hour law compliance to the new healthcare law coming into effect in 2014. For decades, New York employment defense lawyers at  Hans & Associates have helped small business owners deal with employment issues.

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