Dear Member:

As you may know, the House recently voted 220-215 to pass H.R. 3962, The Affordable Health Care for America Act. Now it is the Senate’s turn to debate and vote on their version of health care reform. The two bills will then be reconciled and both chambers must vote again on a final bill. Despite the tremendously heavy lift, the health care reform debate is moving forward and will be very difficult to stop.

The National Restaurant Association and the Delaware Restaurant Association are extremely concerned about the impact of health reform on our members’ ability to survive and on our 13 million workers and their families. New mandates and taxes included in these bills could put restaurants out of business and jobs at risk.

That is why we are working to mitigate the impact to the industry as best we can – through meetings with key decision makers on Capitol Hill and in the Administration.

The restaurant industry is unique in its structure and composition, making our position in the health care debate different than others. As the debate culminates, we are continuing to focus our efforts on the Senate to achieve a legislative outcome in support of our five key priorities. These are changes or provisions we are trying to maintain that could minimize the impact on the industry:


The restaurant industry is comprised of a high proportion of part-time workers, with only 43% of restaurant employees working more than 30 hours per week. Nearly one-half of the industry’s workforce is under the age of 25. It is also a very seasonal business, with one quarter of all restaurants not open year round and others that are open year round are subject to wide variations in their average employment levels.

  • It is critical restaurateurs be allowed to set the criteria for offering health benefits to part-time workers which is why we support a part-time worker exemption.
  • Part-time employees are an essential component of the restaurant industry. Many of our employees work for multiple employers, or receive coverage under another’s health plan.


The restaurant industry is dominated by small businesses, with more than 9 out of 10 restaurants having fewer than 50 employees. Further these small businesses operate on average profit margin of less than 4 percent.

  • It is critical that any reform have a robust small business exemption.
  • The restaurant industry is comprised mainly of small businesses with seven out of 10 eating and drinking place establishments part of a single-unit restaurant business. In the current economic environment, total industry sales have been down considerably over the last two years


The restaurant industry has a high average turnover rate. Seventy-five percent of the employees in the restaurant industry leave their jobs annually, which is much higher than the overall private sector that typically sees 49 percent of employees leave their jobs annually

  • We need a 90-day waiting period for new hires to provide our committed full-time employees the highest quality benefits at the most affordable price.
  • A 90-day waiting period before being required to provide coverage could have a significant impact on lowering costs of health care provided to new and existing employees. The waiting period would mitigate the resources spent to cover employees who have no intention of staying with the company for an extended period of time.


Nonsupervisory employees in the restaurant industry worked an average of 24.3 hours per week in 2008, well below the average hours of counterpart employees in the retail, goods-producing and private non-agricultural sectors.

  • The definition of full-time employee should be modified to 390 hours per calendar quarter (13 weeks) instead of the current 30 hours per week on average.
  • The modified definition takes into account the fluctuations in hours an employee works, which can be
    common in the industry.


  • The restaurant industry is a strong proponent of that allows some of our larger restaurant companies the regulatory framework to offer a uniform health benefits package across state lines.
  • By preserving the framework, employers maintain the ability to offer competitive and more affordable coverage in part through the financial and administrative savings permitted by this uniform national
  • Also, allows employers the flexibility to tailor benefits to fit the needs of their workforce.
    With a workforce of 13 million and over 945,000 eating and drinking establishments nationwide, we are a
    powerful lobby group and we need your help to spread the word about our principles and our asks in the health care debate.


  1. Email Your Senator: If you have not already done so, visit to send an email to your personal elected officials. You can also read up on the industry’s economic facts and learn more about our 5 key industry provisions.
  2. Call Your Senator: Your Senator is Senator Tom Carper (302) 573-6291 or (202) 224-2441
  3. Schedule In-District Meetings with Your Senator’s Office

Senate Bill NRA Summary Analysis

Industry Provisions

Sample Letter