SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., which runs Busch Gardens in Tampa, is reducing hours for thousands of part-time workers, a move that would allow the theme park owner to avoid offering those employees medical insurance under the federal government's health care law, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Under a new corporate policy expected to go into effect by November, SeaWorld will schedule part-time workers for no more than 28 hours a week, down from a limit of 32 hours a week. With the reduced hours, those employees would not be classified as full-time workers under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which requires large employers to offer health insurance to employees working an average of at least 30 hours a week.
In a written statement to the Sentinel, SeaWorld said the change "is intended to bring consistency to the part-time designation across the SeaWorld Parks system." It didn't say whether the health care law was a factor.
SeaWorld also would not say how many of its part-time employees would be affected.
Based in Orlando, SeaWorld Entertainment operates 11 theme parks across the United States and has about 22,000 employees — nearly 18,000 of whom are part-time or seasonal workers.