Orlando based SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. is the latest corporation to cut worker hours to avoid the new health-insurance law.
According to the Orlando Sentinel on Sept 9, SeaWorld told the newspaper through a written statement that the company plans to reduce the hours for thousands of part-time workers across the 11 theme park properties the company operates.
Approximately 22,000 employees work for SeaWorld Entertainment, with nearly 18,000 of it's workforce classified as part-time. In Central Florida, in which SeaWorld Entertainment operates SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica and Discovery Cove in Orlando, and Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in Tampa, over 4,000 workers are classified as part-time.
In the memo to the Sentinel, SeaWorld stated that in will no longer allow it's part-time employees to work more than 28 hours. Part-time workers at SeaWorld were previously not allowed to work more than 32 hours per week.
The downgrade in part-time hours is mostly because of the new Affordable Care Act that requires large employers to offer comprehensive and affordable health insurance to all employees who work at least 30 hours a week. This requirement has been hotly opposed by businesses.
SeaWorld did not say that the new reduction in part-time worker hours were a direct result of the new healthcare law, which is expected to be implemented in 2015, but the reduction was intended to "bring consistency to the part-time designation across the SeaWorld Parks system."
Another Orlando-area company, Darden Restaurants, endured an angry backlash from consumers when Darden, the owner of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, explored a similar cutback in part-time worker hours.