- More U.S. workers are becoming part-timers with fewer benefits, according to research from the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. The latest results of the annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study show that only 25% of part-time workers have medical coverage.
- Americans have joined the gig economy's 40 million-strong workforce as part-timers, independent contractors or contingent workers, as opposed to becoming full-time job holders, the study found. Three-fourths of part-time workers said they chose their work schedule for better work-life balance.
- Most part-time workers are either millennials starting their careers or pre-retired boomers 60 and older who are winding down their work hours.The study also found that part-time and gig economy workers have traded in health and retirement benefits — and the financial security they provide — for better flexibility.
A key outcome of the survey is that part-time workers believe they're doing fine financially, when they're actually losing financial security without the convenience of health and retirement benefits.
Gig economy growth has been explosive, as this study and others have shown. Many U.S. workers have chosen the part-time or independent route for more flexibility and control over their work life. So long as employers can save on costs and close skills gaps by hiring on-demand workers or contractors, part-time work and "gig" economy growth will continue.
Yet despite the multi-faceted benefits of the changing nature of work, the nation's estimated 54 million to 68 million independent workers don't receive benefits, and many lack access to employer-provided healthcare. Employee classification laws have allowed employers to restrict benefits offerings to full-time employees in most cases.
Lawmakers have discussed updating decades-old labor laws to accommodate this burgeoning segment of the workforce. At the same time, private sector employers have said they would offer benefits to nontraditional and part time workers to increase work quality and productivity.