With the health of the economy still in the spotlight, a steady source of income is more important than ever. Unfortunately, with the federal government requiring American citizens to own and maintain health insurance starting in 2014, the cost of premiums may be a burden for many small businesses, self-employed individuals, and part-time employees. For those who do not receive health benefits or subsidized coverage from their employer, private health insurance will cost thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket expenses and taxpayers who do not comply face the possibility of fines and penalties. The easiest and fastest solution may be to take up a part-time job while you look for a more permanent career.
Finding a part-time job with benefits can be a challenge, especially since the benefits offered by some employers are either too expensive for part-time workers or are only available to those who work more than 32 hours a week. While new federal health care insurance laws have decreased the minimum hours full-time employees must work to 30, some companies who advertise health benefits for part-time employees have restrictions that make the benefits difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.
Part-Time Jobs With Benefits
The following part-time jobs with health benefits may offer a good stop gap for those between a full-time job or employment options for those who are in school or unable to work full-time due to family obligations. Note: the information below about benefits is subject to change, especially since many companies are re-evaluating benefits for part-time employees in the wake of new health care reforms which will go into effect on January 1, 2014.
One of the best part-time employers, Starbucks offers full benefits to employees who work as little as 20 hours per week. Unlike many food service jobs, starting salaries and hourly wages for both full and part-time employees are above the federal minimum wage requirements. Part-time jobs with benefits are available in 49 of 50 states, excluding Hawaii. There is a 60 day waiting period during which the employee has to work a minimum of 160 hours, and employees must consistently work 240 hours per quarter (or 20 hours per week) to maintain coverage.
Full and part-time employees can choose from two PPO plans through Premera Blue Cross, both with dependent coverage available. With more than 16,000 stores nationwide, most Americans have a Starbucks in or near their neighborhood. Competition for Starbuck’s jobs (baristas) can be fierce, so it pays to keep trying if you do not get hired the first time you apply.
JPMorgan Chase has an excellent benefits package for full and part-time employees and starting salaries for tellers are between $9 and $15 per hour, depending on the location of the branch. Sales commissions can increase wages and some bonuses are offered. Part-time employees must work at least 20 hours per week and there is a 90-day waiting period before employees become eligible for benefits.
Benefits at JPMorgan Chase include medical, dental, vision, paid-time off, flexible spending accounts, disability and life insurance, and tuition and adoption assistance, as well as preferred deals offered on checking accounts and credit cards. In addition to health benefits, JPMorgan provides stock purchase plans and retirement plans. After one year of service, all employees have the option of taking part in the bank’s retirement plans, which become 100% vested after 3 years of service.
Like many jobs in the financial field, many employees indicated a high degree of stress, but benefits and wages are above average for a part-time job. Minimum requirements for part or full-time employment include a high school diploma or equivalent, the ability to pass a drug test and a criminal background check, and six months experience in customer service and handling cash.
Insiders at UPS have revealed that the United Parcel Service offers among the best health benefits found anywhere to part-time employees. The company does hire a significant number of individuals for seasonal and part-time work, but temporary employees are not eligible for benefits. Furthermore, part-time employees usually need to be employed for 12 months before becoming eligible, and their dependents must wait 18 months.
After that, employees pay nothing for their world class benefits. Former and current employees explain that they receive full medical coverage, including dental and vision, for the entire family, as well as life and long-term care insurance, a 401K, discounted stock options, income protection plan, and tuition reimbursement/assistance. Many attribute these great benefits to the fact that UPS employs organized labor, or employees represented by unions.
One of the best benefits UPS offers is the “Earn and Learn” program for college students, which is available at about 90 of the company locations. UPS works with students so they can continue attending classes while earning a salary. A representative for the company stated that about 45% of new part-time hires were college students. These part-time jobs may not be ideal for workers who need medical benefits right away since the 12 month waiting period is longer than the waiting period at many other part-time employers.
Costco provides packages including health and dental insurance to employees who work at least 20 hours per week. There is a six month (180 day) waiting period for eligibility. The average salary for cashiers and sales associates is about $11.00 an hour, depending on experience and the amount of time with the company. One huge advantage Costco offers is that the employee portion of insurance premiums is taken out of paychecks pre-tax, lowering an employee’s taxable income. Additionally, Costco has in-house vision care centers and pharmacies where both part-time and full-time employees may be eligible for huge discounts on check-ups, glasses, contacts, and prescriptions. Co-pays on generic drugs may be as low as $5.
Unfortunately, part-time employees may not qualify for other benefits like paid holidays, paid vacation and retirement plans. For information on benefits for part-time employees, interested individuals should contact the HR department of their local Costco outlet.
For the rest of 2013, anyone working less than 35 hours a week at JCPenney is eligible for medical, dental, vision and term life insurance coverage. Starting in 2014, when the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) goes into full-effect, employees working 30 hours/week will be considered full-time and therefore eligible for benefits, unless the company scales back its benefits package. The company also offers all employees a discount on store and online merchandise and most employees have reported a positive and pleasant working atmosphere.
Although part-time employees are not eligible for the same benefits as full-time employees, they are given health care and life insurance options. Those who wish to increase their hours to meet eligibility for full-time benefits (35 hours per week) may be able to work in different positions or different departments withf the cooperation of their store manager to make up the extra hours. All JCPenney employees are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent and preference is given to applicants with previous retail experience.
Macy’s part-time workers can qualify for a variety of medical insurance packages offered by the company. Coverage for dependents and same gender domestic partners is also available. All Macy’s employees receive a discount on company merchandise and may be eligible to participate in a 401(k) plan or profit sharing program.
Starting salaries are at least $8.50 per hour depending on experience and store location and unlike many other retail stores, Macy’s allows employees to combine newspaper coupons and store sales with their employee discount. Part-time employees may have to work a minimum of 20 hours a week to qualify for benefits and no information on the waiting period was available. Full-time employees have a six month waiting period before becoming eligible for benefits. Some Macy’s sales positions offer commission in addition to hourly pay.
Hourly pay for part-time Lowe’s employees is between $7.25 and $12.00 an hour depending on experience and geographic location. Lowe’s presents a limited benefits package to part-time employees who may have to work 20 hours a week to qualify. In addition to medical insurance, part-time employees can get dental and vision coverage, disability insurance and 401(k) retirement plans. Paid vacation time is also offered after 6 months of continuous employment, and workers earn 40 hours of vacation after just 180 days. The health coverage is a limited care plan, so not all your medical needs may be covered and you will need to thoroughly review the details. Lastly, insurance premiums are paid “after-tax”, so no favorable tax benefit is awarded.
As with most retail outlets, all employees of Lowe’s receive a discount on store merchandise. Employees also may purchase company stock at a discounted rate. Part-time employees must apply for benefits within 31 days of their hire date or wait for an open enrollment period to receive benefit options.
Home Depot offers specific benefits packages including medical insurance to part-time employees, but detailed information is not provided on their website. Dependent and same gender domestic partner health coverage is available on some of the benefits packages. In addition to health insurance, life insurance and retirement plans may be available and employees qualify for discounts on home and auto insurance.
The company offers paid vacations, holidays, sick days and bereavement days, but does not say if part-time employees are eligible for any paid-time off. The company also provides tuition reimbursement, adoption assistance, and legal services plans. The most common complaint among applicants for Home Depot positions was a failure by the company or store to contact them and an inability to find out the status of their employment applications.
Other Companies That Offer Part-Time Employees Health Benefits
REI (Recreational Equipment)
- REI, a company that brands itself as worker-friendly and is true to its word, provides staff who work a minimum 20 hours/week with a part-time health plan, dental, life and disability insurance, retirement and profit-sharing plans. Other employee perks include product discounts, incentive pay, and discounted travel through the REI Adventures program.
Whole Foods Market
- Whole Foods really takes care of all its employees, presenting all employees with the option to get medical, dental and vision coverage after 400 hours of service, or approximately 5 months at 20 hours per week. Workers are also eligible for life and disability insurance and a flexible spending account. On the downside, the health insurance deductible is $1,500.
- Not a robust benefits package, but Target does offer part-timers access to health and dental plans, as well as an employee discount for prescriptions filled in-store.
- Aerotek is a national temp agency who provides excellent health benefits to contracted workers clocking in at least 20 hours per week. Medical benefits, which extend to spouses and dependents, include dental and vision coverage.
Walmart and Sam’s Club
- We reluctantly include Walmart and Sam’s Club on this list because of labor complaints and the allegedly poor relationship the company maintains with its associates, but since they have a presence in almost every city in the United States, it is important to mention Walmart and Sam’s as an option. The discount retailer provides health insurance for part-time workers, claiming associates have access to over 70 different plans to customize their coverage. The company also prides itself on offering $4 prescriptions for more than 2,000 generic drugs. However, many recent news reports have uncovered that the company’s healthcare plans are simply too expensive for employees and that Walmart actually refers many of its associates to state-funded welfare programs.
Jobs With Benefits
It should be noted that part-time employees usually pay a higher percentage of health care premiums than full-time employees, about 35% compared to 22% for full-timers. This may mean that an employee is primarily working for benefits rather than for a paycheck. Companies that offer before tax deductions for medical coverage generally allow part-time employees to keep more of their income than those who deduct premiums after taxes. For specific information on benefits packages, it is suggested that you contact the HR department of companies where you plan to apply for part-time positions.