Small Business Hiring Guide

20. What You Should Know About Offering Benefits to Part-Time Employees

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What You Should Know About Offering Benefits to Part-Time Employees

Jun 13, 2023 • 9 min read
Employee benefits and employee handbooks
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      Employers often supplement their workforce with part-time employees who fill in the gaps. However, those businesses may wonder what types of benefits they must provide for those part-time employees. The answer is complicated because the federal government does not offer solid guidance on what constitutes part-time work.

      By providing employee benefits to part-timers, you will improve their engagement and show your appreciation for those who contribute to your organization.

      Part-time benefits laws.

      There are many state and federal laws that apply to part-time employee benefits. Some of those define the necessary terms to determine how benefits will be given to workers.

      What is a part-time employee?

      A part-time employee is a person who works less than a full-time worker. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not determine what the terms “full-time” and “part-time” mean. Instead, employers are generally free to establish those definitions on their own. Thus, it is possible for an individual to work 35 hours per week and be considered full-time at one employer and part-time at another.

      While the FLSA does not define “part-time” work, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) considers part-time work to be between one and 34 hours per week. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines it a bit differently for purposes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The IRS indicates that full-time work is at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. However, you should check local employment regulations as well since part-time definitions differ from state to state.

      Do all employers have to provide benefits?

      Many of the federal laws that address job benefits only apply to employers with a certain number of employees within a specific distance. For example, the ACA only applies to employers with at least 50 full-time employees. States also set a minimum number of employees that employers must have to be required to comply with these laws.

      Do part-time employees get benefits?

      Some part-time workers may wonder, Do you get benefits working part-time? The answer is complicated. While there are some benefits that are mandated for all employees, most are required for full-time workers only. In many cases, it is up to the discretion of the business to determine which benefits they offer to part-time employees.

      Legally required benefits for part-time employees.

      There are multiple benefits that must be provided for all employees, including part-time workers. Those include:

      Unemployment insurance

      State and federal laws mandate that employers provide unemployment insurance that covers all workers, including part-time employees. This provides a certain amount of wages to individuals who are laid off. Eligibility and amounts of the benefit are established by states, who manage these programs.

      Workers’ compensation insurance.

      The majority of employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, in case an employee is injured or becomes ill at work. Workers’ comp generally covers full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees. Workers’ comp pays for medical bills, lost wages, and disability, if an employee is temporarily or permanently unable to work.

      Wages and overtime.

      All employees, even those who are part-time, are entitled to minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but many states and localities have a higher minimum wage. Additionally, if you work more than 40 hours per week, employees can get at least 1.5 times their normal wage.

      Many part-time employees receive more than $7.25 per hour. For example, if an employee is paid $10 per hour and they work more than 40 hours per week, then they would be able to get $15 per hour for every hour over 40 hours that they work in that week.

      Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

      FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain circumstances for employees who have worked at least 1250 hours in the last year. While many part-time employees will not meet that requirement, they may if they have recently transferred from a full-time role to a part-time job within the same company.

      Other common benefits for part-time employees.

      Part-time employees do not usually receive all the same benefits that full-time workers get. However, they are typically offered some benefits by their employer. Some of those benefits include the following:

      Health insurance

      Depending on your company’s definition of a part-time worker, you may be required to offer medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Even if you’re not required to provide health insurance to part-time employees, it might be possible to provide this benefit anyway. Many insurance companies require employees to work a minimum of 20 hours per week to be eligible for plans. However, specific requirements depend on state and local laws.

      Retirement plans

      Retirement savings plans, such as a 401k, are often offered to all employees, regardless of full- or part-time status. Individuals may be required to meet a minimum number of worked hours before the company will allow them to participate.

      Fringe benefits for part-time employees.

      Employers often offer an array of fringe benefits to all employees so that they know they’re appreciated. The more benefits an employer offers, the more loyal their workforce is likely to be. Some common fringe benefits include:

      • Bonuses – This is above and beyond the salary offered to part-time individuals. It may be based on the performance of the employee or success of the business. Make sure it is consistently awarded across employees.
      • Paid holidays – Although paid holidays are not required under state or federal laws, many employers offer them to encourage employees to take days of rest. Additionally, you are not required to pay employees extra for work on holidays, although most businesses do.
      • Paid vacations – Some businesses allow part-time employees to take paid vacations to boost morale and encourage workers to rest and come to work with a fresh perspective.
      • Sick leave – Many employees seek work that allows them to have paid sick leave. Employees do not want to be forced to work while ill.
      • Paid time off (PTO) – PTO may be a combination of vacation and sick time off, or it may be completely separate.
      • Tuition assistance – Some employers encourage employees to advance their education in an attempt to expand the knowledge and skills of their workforce.
      • Professional development – Many employers give employees an annual stipend for professional development to advance their ongoing education.
      • Telecommuting or remote work from home – Part-time workers, as well as freelancers and contract employees, often prefer remote work from home situations rather than working in an office.
      • Flexible work schedules – The old nine-to-five work schedule is often flexible in today’s workplace. Unless your workers need to be present for meetings or to serve clients at a specific time, they may appreciate a flexible work schedule.

      These benefits are not required by state or federal laws. However, small businesses can opt to provide them to employees as additional support.

      Part-time employee benefits can be positive for your organization.

      While many small businesses focus on providing benefits to full-time workers, it is worth noticing that part-time workers appreciate benefits, as well. Since benefits can be expensive, you may opt to provide fewer benefits to part-time workers, but anything you offer will help your business stand out among others who are also trying to hire. With the right candidates often difficult to find for open positions, the more benefits you offer, the better quality of applicants you will receive.

      If you are expanding your business or hiring individuals, Lendio can help. Learn more about small business loans from Lendio.

      About the author
      Brandy Abalos

      Brandy Abalos is a licensed attorney, content strategist, and marketing consultant for small businesses. She uses SEO tools to develop strong digital content for audiences who are learning how to navigate complex topics in law and business. When she is not writing, she seeks adventures with her three children, partner, and two corgis in Ohio.

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