More part-time workers getting access to benefits

A new study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that more employers are moving toward extending more benefits to part-time workers. Continue reading this blog post to learn more.


Gone are the days that new talent might come to work for a company part-time in exchange for some extra cash and the promise of discounted merchandise.

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.

And part-time workers can thank the tight labor market for the increase in benefit offerings.

“In order to attract and retain key talent, employers are seeing the need to broaden the scope of work from the traditional ‘40-hour per week model,” says Julie Stich, CEBS, associate vice president of content at IFEBP. “They’re also seeing that benefit offerings and other workplace perks are essential for growing any talented organization, regardless of the number of hours employees work per 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%), according to the report.

In addition, paid leave benefits offered to part-timers saw an uptick to include holidays, bereavement leave, sick pay, short-term disability, maternity leave, parental/family leave and personal leave.

Clothing retailer H&M recently announced its plan to offer six weeks of paid leave to the company’s 18,000 employees — including part-timers.

In addition, Eataly, said in September its new paid parental leave policy — eight weeks of time off for both mothers and fathers following the birth or adoption of a child — is available to all employees who have been working at the company for at least a year, regardless of hours worked per week. Dollar General also introduced a new paid parental leave benefit in March, offering two weeks of paid time off for all eligible full-time and part-time employees, and eight weeks of paid time off for birth mothers.

“U.S. organizations are not required to provide paid leave to part-time workers, but many do for several reasons: to retain high-performing workers, attract high-quality applicants, build worker loyalty and provide work-life balance,” Stich adds.

Paid time off and healthcare were also key benefits identified in the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual survey, with a 10% increase in companies offering healthcare benefits and more than half saying they offer some sort of paid time off to part-time workers.

More employers will likely offer benefits to part-time workers as the workforce shifts toward more flexible work options, Stich says. “Certainly, each organization is structured differently, and company cultures vary, but if offering part-time work arrangements and benefits is appropriate, they can be a vehicle for attracting top-tier talent while providing additional flexibility for current employees.”

SOURCE: Otto, N. (12 December 2018) "More part-time workers getting access to benefits" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.benefitnews.com/news/more-part-time-workers-getting-access-to-benefits?brief=00000152-14a7-d1cc-a5fa-7cffccf00000


Healthcare Reform Curbs Full-Time Hiring

Originally posted December 12, 2013 by Jon Jimison on http://medcitynews.com

Almost half of U.S. companies are wary of taking on full-time employees as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

And 20 percent are likely to hire fewer employees while 10 percent may actually lay off employees in response to what's been dubbed "Obamacare."

That's according to the findings from Duke University/CFO Magazine's Global Business Outlook Survey, which was concluded Dec. 5.

The survey found American chief financial officials indicated that because of the Affordable Care Act, they may reduce employment growth or even shift toward part-time employees. In fact, more than 40 percent of companies will consider targeting part-time workers for future employment, the survey found.

"These are some negative, perhaps, unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act that companies are wrestling with right now that might dampen the hiring horizon a bit," said John Graham, Duke Fuqua School of Business finance professor and a director of the survey.

There was, however, a silver lining in the survey. It found that underlying economic conditions are expected to improve next year. Fifty-two percent of U.S. business leaders believe economic conditions for their firms will be better in 2014.

There will still be some expected employment growth, but health care reform has reduced that growth from what it could have been, Graham reported.

Capital spending among businesses might fare better, increasing up to 7 percent next year.

President Barack Obama's signature 2010 health care law requires many companies to provide insurance to all full-time workers, which the law defines as those who work 30 or more hours per week. Some businesses reportedly have given part-time schedules to their former full-time staffers to skirt insurance requirements.

Larger companies that employ 50 or more people are required to provide health insurance under the law. Smaller companies can opt out.

"The inadequacies of the ACA website have grabbed a lot of attention, even though many of those issues have been or can be fixed," Graham said. "Our survey points to a more detrimental and potentially long-lasting problem. An unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act will be a reduction in full-time employment growth in the United States. Companies plan to increase full-time employment by 1.4 percent in 2014, a rate of growth which is down from last quarter and unlikely to put a dent in the unemployment rate. CFOs indicate that full-time employment growth would be stronger in the absence of the ACA."

"I doubt the advocates of this legislation would have foretold the negative impact on employment," said Campbell Harvey, finance professor at Fuqua and a director of the survey. "The impact on the real economy is startling. Nearly one-third of firms may either terminate employees or hire fewer people in the future as a direct result of ACA."

Health care in a top local concern as well, officials have said.

Changes to health insurance requirements top the list of concerns for local businesses, Christy Proctor, Wilson Chamber of Commerce chairwoman-elect, previously said.

Most Americans will be required to have health insurance in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. The law requires coverage and includes fines for not getting insurance. There are subsidies for people who fall below certain income levels. Under the law, residents can't be refused coverage for a pre-existing condition.

The issue has become a heated political debate.

Republicans are quick to point out problems with the government-run website. They also point out Department of Health and Human Services enrollment data showing that fewer than 9,000 North Carolinians enrolled from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30.

Democratic Sen. Kay R. Hagan said she and others called for an investigation into the contracting process related to healthcare.gov">healthcare.gov. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesdsay announced that the inspector general of the agency will conduct such an investigation.

"I am pleased that the administration has agreed to investigate the contracting process related to healthcare.gov as I urged them to do last month," Hagan said in a statement. "There is no excuse for not having the website ready from day one, and we must learn whatever lessons we can to ensure we never again have an issue like the initial failures of healthcare.gov">healthcare.gov. I will continue to monitor the progress of this investigation to ensure it is completed in a timely and transparent manner."

 

 


The benefits part-time employees can offer your business

Originally posted November 26, 2013 by Abiramie Sathiamoorthy and Janelle McKenzie on http://www.smartcompany.com

When you Google the topic of hiring part-time employees some interesting opinions come up. There seems to be a perception out there that part-time employees aren’t as committed as their full-time colleagues based on the number of hours they’re willing to work. This is something that we couldn’t disagree with more!

It’s as if the fact that they work less hours means that they have less to contribute, which is as ridiculous as it sounds. What’s more ridiculous and unfortunate is that some employers actually buy into this theory. There seems to be a big perception versus reality gap here.

To begin with, putting in face-time at the office doesn’t necessarily equate to commitment. How many of you know of that one employee who seems to be busy doing a whole lot of nothing for most of their day? And then how many of you know of that other employee who comes to work and works like a machine for three out of the five days during the week? Who do you think is more committed to their job?

Surely it makes more sense to measure the commitment of an employee based on the quality of their output and their overall performance rather than the number of hours they work.

Part-time workers in actual fact are as productive (and perhaps even more so) than their full-time colleagues because they have less time to get everything they need to get done, done! For them, time is genuinely precious so they really make the most of it.

Lately, the topic of parents, in particular mothers, returning to work has come up quite a bit in our circle of friends and ex-colleagues. This particular demographic make up a large portion of part-time employees in the workforce. Try telling a part-time employee who has a family to take care of that he or she is not as committed to their job as a full-time employee and they’ll probably tell you where to go!

And fair enough. If a parent is going to make the choice to continue working after having a family, then trust us, they’re committed to the job! The decision is never an easy one so making it requires a lot of commitment in itself – the commitment to make sacrifices and accommodations throughout the other facets of their life just so they can continue to work and pursuit their career.

With that in mind, just because an employee chooses to work part-time doesn’t mean that they’re not equally as ambitious and don’t have career goals like every other employee. It’s a shame that they can be so easily overlooked for promotions and/or special projects. For part-time employees it’s just as important to still have those career conversations with your managers and make your career ambitions known. Nothing wrong with still dreaming big!

We’re not saying that it’s always easy to accommodate part-time employees, particularly in roles with greater responsibility, but it can definitely be worth it. Assess the individual like you would any other full-time employee – on their capability and performance rather than the number of hours they can put into the job.

Benefits that part-time employees can bring to a business:

Help manage wage costs: If you have to pay overtime rates to your existing full-time employees, which are often at a much higher rate, hiring a part-time employee to take on the additional workload at an ordinary base rate can help reduce wage costs significantly. Similarly, if the workload of your operations doesn’t necessarily justify a full-time resource, hiring a part-time resource instead is an obvious solution.

Improve the retention of talent: Sometimes, full-time work simply isn’t an option for many workers, including key talent within your business who have to change their hours due to changing circumstances that come up in life e.g. parents who have childcare responsibilities. A lot of great talent can be lost from a business if there aren’t any options for them to continue to work on a part-time basis.

Access to a greater talent pool: We all know how challenging it can be to find the perfect person for a particular recruitment need. Extending your search to a part-time pool of talented candidates can significantly help.

Greater flexibility: Part-time employees allow for your business to have greater flexibility when it comes to meeting the demands associated with peaks in your operations. Being able to schedule part-time workers around your operational needs presents a key advantage to managing your labour.

Don’t believe the hype that part-time employees won’t contribute as much, have less to offer or aren’t as committed to seeing your business succeed. From the part-time workers we’ve been speaking to, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

 


Large employers won't cut worker hours due to PPACA

Original article from http://www.businessinsurance.com

By Jerry Geisel

Nearly all large employers are not considering reducing the number of hours employees work in response to the health care reform law, according to a survey released Thursday.

Ninety-eight percent of employers surveyed by Towers Watson & Co. said they have not and are not considering asking full-time employees to move to part-time status due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Under the health care reform law, employers must extend coverage to employees working at least 30 hours a week starting next year or pay a $2,000 penalty for each full-time employee.

The threat of the penalty has led to numerous predictions that some employers would reduce hours of employees now working at least 30 hours per week who are not offered health care plan coverage to avoid the penalty in the future.

But few employers appear willing to take such action.

“It's clear that most employers are hesitant to rush and implement changes that will negatively affect workers,” Laura Sejen, New York-based global head of rewards for Towers Watson, said in a statement.

In fact, some employers are easing health care plan eligibility requirements. Earlier this week, for example, Cumberland Gulf Group of Framingham, Mass., said employees working as few as 32 hours a week will be eligible for group coverage effective Oct. 1, down from the current 40-hour-a-week requirement.

The Towers Watson survey is based on the responses of 113 employers, all of which have at least 1,000 employees.

 

 

 


A walk-through on full-time vs. part-time for PPACA

Source: http://eba.benefitnews.com

By L. Scott Austin and David Mustone

With a substantial portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act set to go into effect in 2014, employers are working to determine how the law will impact them, their business and their employees. Because the law will require most employers to provide affordable minimum essential health insurance coverage to full-time employees or face financial penalties, employers must understand how the law defines full-time workers, as well as the penalties that businesses can face for failing to comply or choosing not to provide coverage.

Under provisions called the employer shared responsibility rules, the PPACA requires large employers (generally those with 50 or more full-time employees) to provide affordable group health coverage with sufficient value to full-time employees and their dependents. Full-time employees are generally defined as those who work on average at least 30 hours per week. Employers that fail to comply with these rules can face penalties.

What are the potential penalties?

The failure to offer coverage penalty applies if at least one full-time employee obtains subsidized coverage on an exchange where the employer does not offer coverage to at least 95% of its full-time employees and their dependents. This penalty – which can be up to $2,000 per year for each full-time employee (in excess of 30) – will be based on the total number of full-time employees an employer has, regardless of how many employees have government-subsidized exchange coverage.

The insufficient coverage penalty applies if the employer offers full-time employees coverage, but the coverage is either unaffordable (individual premium cost exceeds 9.5% of the employee’s household income) or does not provide minimum value (plan pays less than 60%of the covered costs). Proposed regulations released by the IRS provide guidance and alternative safe harbors for calculating whether health coverage is unaffordable, including use of an employee’s W-2 earnings. The potential penalty for insufficient coverage is $3,000 per year for each employee who obtains government-subsidized coverage on an exchange.

Employers also should note that in determining whether an employer is subject to these provisions (i.e., is a “large employer”), the IRS controlled group rules are applied – meaning that all affiliated employers for which there is 80% or greater common ownership will be treated as a single employer. However, compliance with the employer shared responsibility rules – and any associated penalties – will generally be assessed on an employer-by-employer basis.

Who is considered a full-time employee?

As an employer, the determination of who is a full-time employee will be crucial in evaluating your options for complying with the employer shared responsibility rules, and equally important, designing your group health plan’s eligibility and participation requirements.

Because there can be various ways of assessing what constitutes a full-time employee eligible for coverage under the PPACA, the IRS has issued guidance in the form of several notices, as well as temporary regulations. These guidelines set out criteria and standards that can help employers make accurate determinations when hiring new employees, including:

  • Initial measurement period – A designated period of not less than three months or more than 12 months used in determining whether a newly hired variable or seasonal employee is full-time.
  • Standard measurement period – An annual designated period of not less than three months or more than 12 months used to determine whether an ongoing variable or seasonal employee is full-time.
  • Administrative period – A period of up to 90 days for making full-time determinations and offering/implementing full-time employee coverage.
  • Stability period – An annual designated period of not less than six months (and not less than the corresponding measurement period) during which the employer must offer affordable minimum essential health coverage to all full-time employees, or face financial penalties for not doing so.
  • Full-time employees – If a new employee is reasonably expected to average at least 30 hours per week at the time of hire, the employee must automatically be treated as full-time and offered group health coverage within three months of hire.
  • Variable hour and seasonal employees – A variable hour employee is someone whom the employer cannot reasonably determine will average at least 30 hours per week at the time of hire. No definition is provided for a seasonal employee, but presumably it would include anyone who works on a seasonal basis. Employers may use the initial measurement period to determine whether a newly hired variable or seasonal employee actually averages at least 30 hours per week, and the standard measurement period to determine whether an ongoing variable or seasonable employee actually averages at least 30 hours per week. If the employee does average at least 30 hours per week during the initial measurement period or standard measurement period, the employer must offer affordable minimum essential health coverage during the stability period, or face financial penalties for not doing so.
  • Transition from new to ongoing employee status – Once a new employee has completed an initial measurement period and has been employed for a full standard measurement period, the employee must be tested for full-time status under the ongoing employee rules for that standard measurement period, regardless of whether the employee was full-time during the initial measurement period.