Part-timers are gaining ground in employee benefits
- Employers are moving toward extending more benefits to part-time workers, according to a new study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. The Flexible Work Arrangements: 2017 Survey Report found that 78% of organizations employ part-time workers, and 90% of those organizations define part-time work as fewer than 30 hours a week.
- The most favorable medical benefits among employees working fewer than 30 hours a week were healthcare coverage (54%), prescription drug coverage (53%), dental and vision care (52%), flexible spending accounts (47%) and health savings accounts (33%).
- Paid leave benefits offered to part-time employees included holidays, bereavement leave, sick pay, short-term disability, maternity leave, parental/family leave and personal leave. For retirement options, most part-time workers are in defined contribution plans, like 401(k)s, over traditional pension plans.
More employers, including big-name retailers like Lowe's, are extending benefits to part-time workers, many of whom were once ineligible for health coverage and other offerings. Clothing retailer H&M announced last month that it will offer its part-time workers paid parental leave.
Part-time workers have the labor market to thank, in part, for the benefits extension. Employers in normally high-turnover industries, like retail and hospitality, want to keep workers onboard in an employee-driven market. Therefore, offering pay increases and benefits to full- and part-time employees can aid retention.
More employers will likely offer benefits to part-time workers. "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," Julie Stich, CEBS, associate vice president of content at the Foundation, said in a statement. While employers aren't obligated to offer part-time workers benefits, gaining their loyalty and increased productivity might be worth the investment in the long run.