According to a 2013 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 85% of all U.S. full-time employees have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, and about 75% have access to retirement benefits. But millions of Americans don’t work full-time jobs, which is defined under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA, popularly known as Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act) as working at least 30 hours per week at the same employer. And according to a report from The Census Bureau in 2013, just 24% of U.S. part-timers have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, and just 37% have access to retirement benefits.
These part-timers string together multiple part-time positions to make ends meet, or they work less than 30 hours per week while attending school or raising a family. And while employers aren’t required to provide healthcare benefits to part-time staff, all Americans are required by the Affordable Care Act to maintain health coverage. For this reason, part-time jobs that provide health benefits are particularly desirable.
Many part-time workers do receive subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, making it more affordable to purchase individual healthcare plans from private insurers through state-run or federal exchanges. But some workers earn too much – more than $44,000 per year, as of the 2014 tax year – to qualify for subsidies under the PPACA. This can put exchange-based individual or family insurance policies out of reach.
Not to mention, many companies are scaling back or eliminating benefits packages for part-time workers. Target, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Home Depot recently discontinued health and retirement plans for part-time staff, raising the threshold for health coverage to 30 hours per week (as per PPACA regulations), and retirement benefits to 40 hours per week. For health, dental, and vision coverage, workers who don’t work 30 hours per week must turn to state or federal insurance exchanges.
Companies Offering Part-Time Benefits
Fortunately, some companies still offer health benefits and other perks, such as dental coverage and 401k plans, to part-time employees who work less than 30 hours per week. Here are some of the largest, most geographically diverse companies.
1. Whole Foods
Austin-based Whole Foods Market employs roughly 80,000 workers, 25,000 of whom are classified as part-timers. With 370 locations in the U.S. and U.K., Whole Foods is the world’s largest purveyor of natural and organic foods, and its workers are among the industry’s best-compensated – the chainwide average hourly wage is $19, although less experienced part-timers make considerably less.
The part-time benefits package is solid, including the following:
- Health Plan: Whole Foods employees who work at least 20 hours per week are eligible for the company’s full medical, dental, and vision package as soon as they accrue 400 total hours of service. All benefits are optional, and they’re not fixed in an employee contract, so management reserves the right to rescind them at any time. Details of the plan aren’t public, but the minimum deductible is reported to be $1,500.
- Other Benefits: Part-time employees who pass the 400-hour mark are also eligible for a 20% discount on store purchases, subsidized life insurance for a monthly fee, paid sick and vacation leave, stock options, and 401k plans, into which all employees are automatically enrolled after six months of service (unless they opt out). The company doesn’t have a set match for 401k contributions, but generally matches veteran workers’ contributions at higher rates than newer employees. Whole Foods also offers a gain-sharing program, including bonuses for rank-and-file employees which are paid from the unused portion of their department’s annual labor budget. According to ABC News, the average employee earned almost $2,500 in total gain-sharing incentives in 2013.
2. Allegis Group
Formerly known as Aerotek, Maryland-based Allegis Group is a staffing firm that employs roughly 10,000 full-time employees, and almost 100,000 contractors and temp workers. The company does business through several subsidiaries, including one that bears the Aerotek name, and its benefits apply to all temp and contract employees who work at least 20 hours per week.
- Health Plan: Upon hire, all qualifying Allegis Group employees are immediately eligible for medical, dental, and vision coverage, paid for through employee paycheck contributions. Plan details aren’t publicly available, but there are also unsubsidized coverage options for employee dependents. Contract workers and temps must apply for benefits within 30 days of hire, or wait until the next open enrollment period. Allegis also offers a health savings account, and the company makes matching contributions at its discretion.
- Other Benefits: Allegis Group also offers a 401k plan with a dollar-for-dollar match on the first $500 contributed, and a 50% match on the next $500, for a total employer match of $750 annually. There’s also an annual profit-sharing bonus, at the managers’ discretion, to internal (not contract) part-time workers at its subsidiaries. Eligible employees may receive part of the profit-sharing bonus as a 401k deposit that’s separate from the annual employer match. Other benefits include life and disability insurance, a 529 college savings plan, and paid sick leave and vacation time. These benefits are immediately available to new hires, although vacation and sick leave accrues according to a time-served schedule.
Seattle-based Costco is the country’s second-largest retailer, maintaining roughly 650 warehouse stores and 185,000 employees. With a starting wage of $11.50, and a company-wide average of $21 per hour, the company’s compensation is even more generous than Whole Foods’. Its pay scale is flatter too – the CEO made about $5 million in 2013, 25% of the pay to Walmart’s CEO, and just 48 times that of the average Costco employee. And with 88% of all employees participating in a health or retirement plan, their benefits are pretty popular.
- Health Plan: Any Costco employee who works more than 24 hours per week and logs 180 days of service is eligible for the Choice Plus health plan, which enables members to choose their own providers. Part-timers also have access to a low-cost dental plan, which covers preventative visits and some costs of basic procedures, as well as basic vision coverage. Since all Costco locations have a pharmacy, part-time employees enjoy an in-house prescription plan (separate from Choice Plus), with $5 copays for generic drugs and 5% to 15% copays for branded medications. Payroll deductions for Choice Plus plans are available in Costco’s Rate Benefits Booklet, which is only available to Costco employees. Coverage for each dependent costs an additional $30 per pay period.
- Other Benefits: Part-time employees can access Costco’s 401k plan, which includes a maximum company match of $500 annually. An optional flexible spending account (FSA) lets employees use pre-tax earnings to pay for daycare, which Costco claims may provide up to $2,000 in cost savings each year. Costco’s Care Network provides free mental health counseling, and offers referrals to debt counselors and lawyers, who charge fees for their services. Other benefits include a direct stock purchase plan, disability and life insurance, and long-term care insurance. All of these benefits are available to part-time staff who log 180 days of service and work more than 24 hours per week.
Charlotte-based Lowe’s, one of the world’s largest home improvement outlets, has about 160,000 employees spread across 1,750 locations in the U.S. and abroad. The company has seen its share of employment-related controversies, including pending lawsuits that allege improper denials of overtime compensation for non-exempt employees. That said, Lowe’s does offer great benefits for part-timers.
- Health Plan: Part-time employees enjoy access to a limited medical plan that covers the cost of preventive office visits. They also have access to basic dental and vision coverage. There’s no minimum threshold for hours worked to qualify, but employees must apply within 31 days of hire. Otherwise, they must wait until the following open-enrollment period. Employees pay 100% of the cost of the plan for their first year of service, after which Lowe’s contributes 60% of employee costs and 57.5% of dependent costs.
- Other Benefits: Lowe’s part-time staff can also enroll in life insurance and short-term disability plans. The company has a direct stock purchase plan after one year of service, a 401k plan after one year of service, and 40 hours paid vacation time after 180 days of service. Lowe’s matches 401k contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 3% of employees’ gross income.
Seattle-based Starbucks has more than 16,000 stores in the United States alone, and employs nearly 200,000 workers globally, most of whom are part-time. The coffee company has a reputation for treating its workers well – average annual earnings for hourly employees are just over $35,000, although the typical new barista takes home about $9 per hour. Starbucks was also one of the first food service chains to offer a comprehensive employee benefits package.
- Health Plan: Employees who work more than 20 hours per week (or 240 hours per quarter) enjoy medical plans that include 100% coverage for preventive care. The basic plans require employee contributions of just 30% of the total plan premium, which aren’t made public, while more comprehensive plans may include coverage for non-traditional care, such as acupuncture and chiropractic services, at higher out-of-pocket rates. A dental plan that covers preventive visits and some procedural costs is also available, as is a basic vision plan. Employees must work at least 160 hours during their first two months of service to be eligible for these (and other) benefits.
- Other Benefits: Starbucks also offers short-term disability and death/dismemberment insurance plans, employee assistance programs that include low-cost counseling, adoption assistance of up to $4,000, and a 401k plan that includes an employer match of up to 6% of total employee contributions. After one year of service, part-timers also accrue 40 hours of paid vacation per year.
Atlanta-based UPS is among the world’s largest logistics firms, with about 400,000 employees globally. Its delivery workers start at $11 per hour, but many of its U.S. hourly employees, including warehouse and delivery workers, operate under collective-bargaining agreements – arrangements between the company and its workers’ union – that have produced attractive benefits packages.
- Health Plan: After 12 months of work, all UPS part-time employees who work at least one hour per week can choose between an Aetna or BlueCross BlueShield PPO plan that covers preventive and basic medical and dental services. These plans includes a low copay for generic prescription drugs, and coinsurance for more expensive procedures. A basic vision plan is also included. Under the terms of UPS’ current collective-bargaining agreement, part-time workers pay nothing out-of-pocket for these benefits, setting UPS apart from most other companies providing part-time benefits – most companies require employees to contribute a portion of their pay to the health plans.
- Other Benefits: UPS workers enjoy other benefits at no cost, including life, disability, and death/dismemberment insurance, adoption assistance, and tobacco cessation support. Dependent spouses and children qualify for these benefits as well. For a cost, UPS offers supplemental life insurance, personal lines insurance (auto and home lines), legal assistance, and health savings accounts for workers and dependent spouses, children, and elders. Finally, since nearly half of its part-time employees take college courses, UPS offers tuition assistance of up to $3,000 per year, with a $15,000 lifetime cap. New employees are immediately eligible for this benefit.
Boston-based Staples has about 90,000 employees who work at 1,500 U.S. stores (2,200 stores globally) and roughly 120 fulfillment centers. Although the company has trimmed its workforce in response to competition from office wholesalers and online retailers, it still offers attractive benefits for part-time workers.
- Health Plan: Staples offers a limited medical plan through Aetna at a per-paycheck cost of $21 per associate, or $60 for an associate plus dependent family members. The plan doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so Staples advises employees to obtain supplemental health insurance coverage elsewhere. The plan also includes limited vision and dental benefits that cover some of the costs associated with preventive and routine care. Employees are immediately eligible for these benefits, but must enroll within 31 days of hire. One important note: Since Staples pays higher wages to workers in Massachusetts, Washington, North Dakota, and New Hampshire, the company doesn’t offer health benefits to part-timers in these locations.
- Other Benefits: Despite reductions in added perks, Staples still offers short-term disability insurance and an employee assistance program that connects workers with financial professionals, child- and elder-care, and legal services. Part-time employees can also participate in a stock purchase plan and a 401k program, with Staples matching contributions at 50 cents on the dollar up to 6% of total pay. To qualify for these perks, employees must work 500 hours within a six-month period.
With 12,000 employees, Seattle-based REI is routinely cited as one of the country’s best retailers to work for. It’s still structured as a co-op, although not every employee has an ownership stake, and high-level decisions are made by a traditional board of directors. Most employees start above $10 per hour in wages, and the company has a notoriously flat pay scale – its CEO made just $750,000 in 2013. REI also offers benefits to all employees, including those who work just a few hours per week.
- Health Plan: REI offers a two-tiered health plan. Part-time staff who work less than 20 hours per week are immediately eligible to enroll in the company’s PaTH plan, for which REI pays 60% of the employee’s premiums, although employees must bear the full cost of coverage for family members. PaTH also offers dental and vision benefits, which employees must pay for out-of-pocket. Non-exempt REI employees (those who receive overtime pay for logging more than 40 hours in a week) who average between 20 and 40 hours per week can access the company’s FLEX plan, which pays 85% of the employee’s premiums for medical and dental coverage. Exact premium costs aren’t publicly available. Vision coverage is less generous. REI claims that its FLEX and PaTH plans have 5,000 and 1,000 participants, respectively, representing half of all eligible employees.
- Other Benefits: REI also offers basic life insurance and 401k plans that are immediately available to part-timers who work 20 hours per week. The retirement plan includes a dollar-for-dollar company match, up to 5% of total income, with the potential for a profit-sharing 401k deposit equivalent to 10% of the employee’s total income. Part-time staff can also apply for medical or personal leaves of absence, which are approved on a case-by-case basis.
Portland, Oregon-based Nike has seen its fair share of controversy, including persistent allegations that it used child labor in its overseas factories, but its tens of thousands of U.S. employees have it pretty good. All employees who work more than 30 hours per week are eligible for the company’s full-time benefits package, not just health benefits, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Part-timers who clear the 20 hour weekly threshold are eligible for some benefits as well.
- Health Plan: For part-timers who have been with the company for at least one year, Nike has a generous health plan that includes a $1,000 deductible with 80% coverage above that amount. Preventive and basic services, including office visits and prescriptions, are included in the plan. Nike doesn’t publicize further details of the available plans, and requires part-time staff to pay their plan’s full cost. As a group insurance plan, it may be more affordable than a private insurer’s individual plan. Basic dental and vision coverage are included as added out-of-pocket expenses.
- Other Benefits: Part-time employees with at least one year of service qualify for a stock purchase plan that allows employees to use up to 10% of their total earnings to purchase stock at a 15% discount. Nike also offers a 401k plan for eligible part-timers, which includes a dollar-for-dollar match on contributions up to 5% of total income, and a profit-sharing program that kicks in after one year of service. Other benefits for one year veterans include disability, life, and death/dismemberment insurance, paid time off (30 hours per year worked for the first two years of service), long-term care insurance, and optional health savings accounts.
10. Land’s End
With roughly 5,000 year-round employees, Dodgeville, Wisconsin-based Land’s End is one of the smaller companies on this list. However, its retail business is highly seasonal, creating part-time opportunities for thousands of warehouse and customer support workers during the holidays. Temporary and part-time workers are eligible for numerous benefits.
- Health Plan: Land’s End offers dental and vision coverage to all employees upon hire, although the details of these plans aren’t public. All workers also receive access to an on-site medical clinic at Land’s End headquarters, which offers low-cost preventive care and basic services. Land’s End doesn’t offer subsidized health insurance for part-time employees, but year-round and returning seasonal workers can purchase group coverage at full cost. Seasonal workers who sign up to work the following holiday season retain these benefits during the off-season.
- Other Benefits: Non-seasonal Land’s End part-time staff are immediately eligible to contribute to a 401k plan, the details of which aren’t publicly available. There’s no stock purchase plan for part-timers. All employees based at the company’s headquarters have free access to a fitness center, which also offers wellness and medical training classes, such as CPR, for a fee. An onsite health food store offers wholesale prices on meats and veggies. Finally, all employees receive discounts on Land’s End products.
As the country’s largest self-serve moving firm, Phoenix-based U-Haul has about 20,000 employees and tens of thousands of trucks, trailers, and storage units. With a work-from-home customer service team and lots of seasonal warehousing and sales positions, the company’s workforce is flexible. Part-time wages start around $8.50 per hour, but regular pay increases bump the average wage up to $13 per hour for all non-salaried employees. Part-timers enjoy solid benefits.
- Health Plan: U-Haul offers a limited medical and dental plan that includes coverage for annual office visits, low prescription copays, and partial coverage for more expensive services. The company doesn’t make deductible, coinsurance, or premium figures public. Employees must cover the full cost of premiums, which may be more or less expensive than those for a comparable individual plan. Additionally, these medical benefits don’t meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so supplemental insurance may be required. All U-Haul employees who log at least 20 hours per week are immediately eligible for these benefits.
- Other Benefits: After a year of service, part-time U-Haul employees who log 20 hours a week are eligible for direct stock purchase and 401k plans, although the company doesn’t make these details public. Additional perks include travel insurance, discounts on U-Haul equipment, and access to a company credit union.
While some companies have scaled back benefits for part-time employees, it’s still possible to find national employers offering solid benefits packages to part-time staff. These benefits might not be as robust as those offered to full-time workers, and they may have restrictions or limits on coverage, but employer-sponsored plans still tend to be more affordable than plans purchased on the private market, especially when companies help subsidize the cost.
Do you receive part-time benefits through your employer? Are you satisfied with the coverage and assistance you receive?