Thanks Barack!

The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is putting more workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting the impact of looming health coverage requirements.

Darden Restaurants declined to give details but said the test is only in restaurants in four markets across the country. The test entails increasing the number of workers on part-time status, meaning they work less than 30 hours a week. Under the new health care act, companies will be required to provide health care to full-time employees by 2014. That would significantly boost labor costs for businesses.

About 75 percent of Darden’s employees are currently part-timers.