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Part-Time is the New Full-Time in the Restaurant Industry

Topics: Current Events

Economic recession replaced full-time work with part-time gigs, easy to fill because widespread joblessness means more people will accept just about any employment opportunity. That’s good news for employers trying to save a buck by bypassing the need to offer healthcare, but pretty sucky for the rest of America who have to accept that, well, part-time is the new normal.

(Photo credit: The Consumerist / Flickr)

That especially holds true in the food industry, where high turnover rate and a huge pool of desperate applicants looking for anything to pay the bills.

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The impending reality of Obamacare – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – in January 2014 has led a lot of restaurant chains to cut back hours to avoid paying benefits. Under the new law, anyone who works full-time is entitled to employer-paid healthcare. The Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster scaled back hours to avoid paying, Gawker reported not long ago. Some Taco Bell and Wendy’s eateries followed suit.

“I think a lot of those employers, especially restaurants, are just going to ensure nobody gets scheduled more than 30 hours a week,” Matthew Snook, spokesman for human-resources consulting company Mercer tells the Orlando Sentinel.

As of March, some 7.6 million American workers were relegated to part-time jobs even though they’d rather have full-time hours, according to the Times. Though the job growth fueled some of the economic recovery, it’s based on an unstable and discontent workforce.

It’s sad, but as long as companies can get away with skimping on benefits and hours, there’s no reason for them to stop. So entry-level workers and others in the hospitality industry have to either take on a second job or accept the fact that part-time is the new standard.


“There’s nothing inherently wrong with people taking part-time jobs if they want them,” economist Diane Swonk tells the Times. “The problem is that people are accepting part-time pay because they have no other choice.”


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Do you think employers should give more people full-time hours? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Jennifer Wadsworth
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