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Feb. 11, 2020, 10:23 a.m. EST

Why more employers are offering benefits to part-timers

What they offer, and how to find them

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By Margie Zable Fisher


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About 140,000 part-time employees at UPS are eligible for a variety of benefits after being on the payroll for nine months.

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org .

My friend, Laura Green, is frustrated.

Green, 58, who lives in Delray Beach, Fla. had always carried the health care insurance for the family. But about a year ago, she was laid off from her job as a controller for a small company, and her COBRA insurance coverage letting her keep that coverage temporarily, is ending soon. When Green found out how much a health care plan would cost for her husband and her (even with a high deductible), she was stunned.

Read the January jobs report

Plus, over the past year, Green has spent much of her time helping her mother-in-law deal with medical issues. “What I need is a part-time job with health care benefits, so I can still help my mother-in-law,” she says, asking me, “do jobs like that even exist?”

I wasn’t sure. So I decided to do some research.

How employers are standing out for applicants

With the U.S. unemployment rate hovering around a 50-year low of 3.5%, there are now labor shortages in every industry. So, Julie Stich, vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) says, “The tight labor market has employers looking to stand out from the crowd. And one way to do this is by making part-time work with benefits coverage an option. This allows employers to attract and retain key talent who for whatever reason — whether personal or professional —are looking to work part-time hours.”

And the new SECURE Act may soon make it easier for older, part-time workers to qualify for 401(k) retirement benefits.

See: The SECURE Act is changing retirement — here are the most important things to know

According to the HRDive online publication, more employers are extending benefits to part-time workers these days. HRDive noted an IFEBP survey found that 79% of responding employers offered health care insurance to part-time workers who worked 30 or fewer hours a week.

Finding those employers, however, isn’t easy. But here are a few success stories from part-timers:

At UPS, part-time work with a bushel of benefits

Jacquelyn Hicks, 55, works part time as a supervisor for UPS /zigman2/quotes/201245396/composite UPS -3.27%   in Chattanooga, Tenn. and gets health care, vision and dental coverage, plus a 401(k) with matching contributions. On top of that — drumroll please — she even qualifies for a UPS pension. Hicks started as a temporary worker at UPS at age 25.

She is one of 140,000 UPS part-time employees, all of whom (as well as their families) are eligible for those same benefits after being on the payroll for nine months.

“Many part-time workers at UPS start out as temps or seasonal,” says Hicks, who works alongside several other part-timers over 50. “It’s not just about loading and unloading trucks and delivering packages. At UPS, there are part-time clerical, customer service, accounting, finance, sales and other jobs without major physical requirements.”

Some other well-known companies also offer part-time positions with health care and additional benefits, such as vision and dental coverage, 401(k)s and paid time off. A recent list compiled by the FinanceBuzz site includes Starbucks, /zigman2/quotes/207508890/composite SBUX -3.00%   Amazon, /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -0.64%   Delta, /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL -0.88%   REI, Chipotle /zigman2/quotes/200781108/composite CMG -3.04%   and Costco. /zigman2/quotes/201191698/composite COST -0.97%  

Keep in mind, though, that benefits coverage can change. So, if you’re interested in working for any of those companies part-time, check to make sure that the benefits are still in place.

Government part-time work with benefits

Local government employers sometimes offer part-timers benefits, too. Just ask school bus driver Angie Smith, 53, of Wilsonville, Ala.

Last year,  Smith wanted to spend more time with her grandkids and gain more flexibility over her time. But she still needed affordable health care. So, Smith left a full-time position as a nutrition manager and became a part-time bus driver for the Shelby County Board of Education (as well as a real-estate agent).

/zigman2/quotes/201245396/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 90.00
-3.04 -3.27%
Volume: 4.47M
April 3, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
17.61
Dividend Yield
4.49%
Market Cap
$77.28 billion
Rev. per Employee
$149,503
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/zigman2/quotes/207508890/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 63.05
-1.95 -3.00%
Volume: 14.68M
April 3, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
20.61
Dividend Yield
2.60%
Market Cap
$74.00 billion
Rev. per Employee
$86,863
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 1,906.59
-12.24 -0.64%
Volume: 3.61M
April 3, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
82.83
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$949.21 billion
Rev. per Employee
$359,671
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 22.48
-0.20 -0.88%
Volume: 48.97M
April 3, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
3.07
Dividend Yield
7.16%
Market Cap
$14.39 billion
Rev. per Employee
$499,337
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200781108/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 611.01
-19.15 -3.04%
Volume: 859,958
April 3, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
49.37
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$16.97 billion
Rev. per Employee
$66,644
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201191698/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 288.65
-2.83 -0.97%
Volume: 2.65M
April 3, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
33.86
Dividend Yield
0.90%
Market Cap
$127.46 billion
Rev. per Employee
$600,967
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