Darden, after test, won't change full-time staffing plans

Thu Dec 6, 2012 9:23am EST

Dec 6 (Reuters) - Darden Restaurants Inc is not changing any of its full-time staffing plans for 2014 after a test to alter employment plans to hold down the cost of U.S. healthcare reforms, the company said on Thursday.

Darden said no current employees, hourly or salaried, would lose their full-time status as a result of healthcare reform.

The restaurant chain owner also said all of its approximately 45,000 full-time workers, including hourly, salaried and executive employees, would have access to the same insurance coverage in 2014.

The company said in October that it was putting some workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting costs from the new U.S. healthcare law.

Darden reported a steep fall-off in business at its Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse chains on Tuesday and lowered its financial expectations for the year.

It said the full-year targets also reflected the potential impact of recent negative media coverage about its moving some workers to part-time from full-time schedules to hold down the cost of federal healthcare reforms.

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