Darden to limit employee hours to keep health care costs down

Tester restaurant employees will work 28 hours, officials say

Headline Goes Here

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando-based restaurant giant Darden Restaurant is decreasing the amount of full-time positions for hourly workers at some of their restaurant chains to keep health care costs down.

Local 6 has confirmed that Darden, which owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden and  LongHorn,will limit hours of employees to 28 hours at the restaurants they're testing out. The testing market includes Central Florida, but it's not clear which restaurant locations.

Currently, 25 percent of employees are full time and the company offers limited-benefit plans to its 185,000 employees, officials said. Those benefit plans will be phased out in 2014 with the Affordable Care Act.

Under the Affordable Care Act, large companies must provide affordable health insurance to employees working at least 30 hours per week--or pay fines up to $3,000 for each employee who goes elsewhere for insurance.

Darden provides typical health insurance to full time workers, but the act will make it more expensive to provide health care to all.

Darden officials haven't said if they plan to expand the limited hours for workers to more restaurants.

Copyright 2012 by ClickOrlando.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.