Health changes spur test of more part-time workers

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Olive Garden and Red Lobster

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NEW YORK (AP) – The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is putting more workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting the impact of looming health coverage requirements.

Darden Restaurants Inc. declined to give details but said the test is only at restaurants in four markets. The test entails increasing the number of workers who are on part-time status, meaning they work less than 30 hours a week. Under the health care overhaul, companies will need to provide health coverage to full-time employees.

About 75 percent of Darden’s employees are currently part-timers.

Bob McAdam, who heads government relations for Darden, noted that the company isn’t alone in exploring ways to manage the impact of the new regulations.

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