The PJ Tatler

Reminder: ObamaCare Kills Jobs

In this case, ObamaCare is killing full-time jobs and turning them into part-time jobs.

In an experiment apparently aimed at keeping down the cost of health-care reform, Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has stopped offering full-time schedules to many hourly workers in at least a few Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters and LongHorn Steakhouses.

Darden said the test is taking place in “a select number” of restaurants in four markets, including Central Florida, but would not give details. The company said there has been no decision made about expanding it.

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.

Anyone who has ever run a business or held down a real job could have seen this coming. Which helps explain why it will come as a total shock to Barack Obama.

Let’s look back at last month’s jobless numbers. Everyone focused on the big number, but the underemployed number is a high 14.7%. If more companies follow Darden’s and White Castle’s lead, it’s going to go up.