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Benefit trends for part-time employees

With flexible work arrangements on the rise for organizations throughout the United States, benefits for part-time employees are presenting new ground for consideration. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 94% of organizations offer some sort of flexible work arrangement.

Many U.S. organizations (78%) currently employ part-time workers, according to Flexible Work Arrangements: 2017 Survey Report from the International Foundation. Of those organizations that employ part-time workers, 90% define part-time as working fewer than 30 hours per week.

"As the workforce shifts toward more flexible work options and away from the traditional 40-hour week, it's becoming increasingly more important to establish benefit policies for part-time workers," said Julie Stich, CEBS, Associate Vice President of Content at the International Foundation.

Health Benefits

Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate, in order to avoid a penalty, health care benefits must be offered to those who work at least 30 hours per week (for organizations that employ 50 or more full-time equivalent workers). In the Flexible Work Arrangements report:

  • 37% of employers reported their employees must work a minimum of 30 hours per week in order to receive health insurance
  • 25% of employers reported their employees must work a minimum of 20 hours per week in order to receive health insurance
  • 6% of employers did not specify a minimum number of work hours needed to be eligible to receive employer-sponsored health care benefits.

For part-time employees working fewer than 30 hours per week, the most popular health care-related benefits provided include:

  • Health care insurance--54%
  • Prescription drug coverage--53%
  • Dental and vision care--52%
  • Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)--47%
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs)--33%

Paid Leave Options

Of the 94% of employers offering some sort of flexible work arrangement, paid leave benefit offerings for part-time employees include:

  • Holidays--68%
  • Bereavement leave--63%
  • Sick pay--52%
  • Short-term disability--41%
  • Maternity leave--33%
  • Parental/family leave--32%
  • Personal leave--29% 

"U.S. organizations are not required to provide paid leave to part-time workers, but many do for several reasons: to retain high-performing workers, attract high-quality applicants, build worker loyalty and provide work-life balance," said Stich.

Retirement and Other Offerings

According to the survey report, the most common retirement option for part-time employees is a defined contribution plan--401(k) or 403(b)--offered by 76% of employers. More than one quarter (27%) offer a defined benefit pension plan to part-time workers.

Other benefit options for part-time employees include life insurance (49%), dependent care (41%), long-term disability (41%) and educational assistance like tuition reimbursement (39%).


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