According to 2019 data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 97.1% of large firms — those with 50 full-time equivalent employees or more — offer health insurance to their employees. Just 30.8% of firms with fewer than 50 full-time employees offered health insurance benefits to employees.
What accounts for the discrepancy? It’s largely because small businesses aren’t required to provide employer-sponsored health coverage under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA), popularly known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.
Meanwhile, even among larger employers that do offer health insurance benefits to full-time employees, part-time employees get short shrift. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from early 2020, just 23% of part-time workers in civilian occupations (including private industry and state and local government) had access to employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.
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Are Companies Required to Provide Health Insurance Coverage to Part-Time Workers?
Clearly, most private and public-sector employers choose not to offer health insurance coverage to part-timers. Under federal law, no employer — regardless of size — is required to offer benefits like employer-sponsored health insurance to part-time employees, which the law defines as those working fewer than 30 hours per week for the same employer.
Many part-time workers do receive subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, making it more affordable to purchase individual health care plans from private insurers through state-run or federal exchanges. But some workers earn too much to qualify for subsidies under the ACA, putting exchange-based individual or family insurance policies out of reach.
Affordable health care options do exist for people without health insurance: brokers like eHealth, private high-deductible health plans paired with health savings accounts (HSA), and health insurance alternatives like a health care sharing ministry. None are perfect, however.
And while workers with suitable credit profiles can take out unsecured personal loans to cover unexpected health care costs, no one should have to choose between their health and credit utilization rate.
To make matters worse, some companies have scaled back or eliminated benefits packages for part-time workers in recent years.
Target, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Home Depot have all discontinued health or retirement plans (or both) for part-time staff in recent years, raising the threshold for health coverage to 30 hours per week (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 Health Insurance Benefits for Part-Time Jobs
Fortunately, some companies still offer health benefits and other perks, such as dental coverage and 401(k) plans, to employees who work part-time jobs (less than 30 hours per week).
Here are some of the largest, most geographically diverse companies that offer health insurance and other benefits to part-time workers.
1. 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.
On the first day of the month following their hire date, qualifying Allegis Group employees are 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 an HSA, and the company makes matching contributions at its discretion.
Allegis Group also offers a 401(k) plan, administered by Wells Fargo, that includes a total employer match of $750 annually. These figures are subject to change, so check back regularly or go directly to Allegis for up-to-date information. Benefits may vary by subsidiary as well.
Allegis also provides 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 401(k) deposit that’s separate from the annual employer match.
Other benefits for part- and full-time employees include life and disability insurance, a 529 college savings plan, tuition reimbursement, and paid sick leave and vacation time. These benefits are immediately available to new hires, although vacation and sick leave accrue according to a time-served schedule.
Seattle-based Costco is the country’s second-largest retailer, maintaining more than 700 warehouse stores and well over 100,000 employees. With a starting wage of $16 per hour, according USA Today, the company’s compensation is quite generous for a major retailer.
And with the vast majority of Costco employees participating in a health or retirement plan, its benefits are pretty popular, although all are subject to change or discontinuation at Costco’s discretion.
Any Costco employee who works more than 24 hours per week and logs 180 days of service is eligible for a comprehensive health insurance plan administered by Aetna.
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 the main health insurance plan) with low copays for generic drugs and branded medications — generally less than 20%.
Payroll deductions for health and dental plans are available in Costco’s Rate Benefits Booklet, which is only available to Costco employees.
Part-time employees can access Costco’s 401(k) plan, which includes a maximum company match of the lesser of $500 or 50% of total salary deferral contributions annually.
An optional flexible spending account (FSA) lets employees use pretax earnings to pay for day care and other covered dependent care services.
Plus, Costco’s Care Network provides free mental health counseling and offers referrals to debt counselors and lawyers (who charge fees for their services).
Other Costco 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 more than 250,000 employees spread across nearly 2,000 locations in the U.S. and abroad.
Unlike Home Depot, its main rival, Lowe’s extends health insurance benefits to all nonseasonal part-time employees. And Lowe’s is unusually transparent about its employee benefits, making detailed information about medical, dental, vision, and other benefits available to the general public through BenefitsPricing, a third-party website.
Upon hitting 89 days of consecutive service, part-time Lowe’s employees enjoy access to a very good health plan that covers 100% of the cost of all preventive care and up to four primary care visits per year.
Other coverage details vary by state, so check BenefitsPricing for details about what’s available in your area.
And bear in mind that while there’s no minimum hours-worked threshold to qualify, employees must apply within 31 days of hire or wait until the following open enrollment period.
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 month of service that entitles employees to purchase Lowe’s shares at a 15% discount, a 401(k) plan after one month of service with a company match up to 4.25% on contributions of 6% or greater and 100% vesting immediately, and several types of insurance coverage (including term life and short-term disability).
Seattle-based Starbucks has tens of thousands of stores and employs about 350,000 workers globally. Even if you’re not a coffee fan, it’s very likely that you encounter one or more Starbucks locations in your daily or weekly routine.
Most Starbucks employees are part-time. The coffee company has a reputation for treating its workers well — average annual earnings for hourly employees, including baristas, are just over $35,000, and the typical shift supervisor earns north of $11 per hour (higher in pricier labor markets).
Starbucks was also one of the first food service chains to offer a comprehensive employee benefits package: the Starbucks Special Blend.
Employees who work more than 20 hours per week (or 240 hours per quarter) are eligible to enroll in Starbucks’ benefits program.
The Special Blend’s health coverage portion includes various medical plans, from bare-bones high-deductible health plans to a generous Platinum plan with low out-of-pocket maximums and no coinsurance or deductible.
Three optional dental plans that cover preventive visits and some or most procedural costs (depending on plan tier) are also available, as are three vision plans with varying levels of coverage.
The Starbucks Special Blend is indeed comprehensive. Its nonmedical benefits include short-term disability and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance plans, employee assistance programs that include low-cost counseling, a dependent care reimbursement account (dependent care FSA), adoption assistance, college savings plans, and a 401(k) plan that includes an employer match of up to 6% of total employee contributions.
And Starbucks has a number of other perks and incentives for hourly employees, according to Rather-Be-Shopping.com.
Atlanta-based UPS is among the world’s largest logistics firms, with about 430,000 employees globally. Its drivers earn good money — averaging upwards of $21 per hour, according to Indeed.
And those willing to work nights and holidays, especially during the mad rush between Black Friday and New Year’s, can really rack up overtime pay.
Most of UPS’s U.S. hourly employees, including warehouse and delivery workers, operate under collective bargaining agreements that have produced attractive benefits packages.
As part of the Teamsters union, hourly UPS workers who log at least 225 hours in any three-month eligibility determination period (about 19 hours per week) are eligible for the same TeamstersCare benefits normally extended to full-time Teamsters members.
All TeamstersCare-eligible UPS part-time employees can choose basic health plans that cover preventive medical and dental services. These plans include 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’s current collective bargaining agreement, which is subject to change, 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.
Depending on their role, workers may be eligible for union-administered plans subsidized by UPS contributions. These plans are subject to change at UPS’s discretion and with alterations to collective bargaining arrangements, so check with UPS management before applying.
UPS workers enjoy a slew of other benefits at little or no out-of-pocket cost: life, disability, and death and dismemberment insurance; adoption assistance; and tobacco cessation support. Dependent spouses and children qualify for some of these benefits as well.
UPS also 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. These products all require employee-paid premiums.
Finally, because nearly half of its part-time employees take college courses, UPS offers tuition assistance of up to $5,250 per year, with a $25,000 lifetime cap, through the Earn and Learn Program. New employees are immediately eligible for this benefit.
See UPS’s summary of benefits for more information about employee benefits and their potential costs.
With 13,000 employees at just over 150 retail stores, 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.
The average REI customer service associate earns about $11.50 per hour, according to Indeed, and the average warehouse worker clears about $13.50 an hour. The company has an unusually flat pay scale as well, with the CEO taking home about $825,000 in base compensation and about $3.2 million total in 2019, according to REI’s executive compensation report.
REI once offered benefits to all employees, including those working just a few hours per week. Although it discontinued this practice in the mid-2010s, REI still extends “full-time” benefits to all employees working at least 20 hours per week through the REI Flex Plan.
Employees averaging fewer than 20 hours per week get “tools” to help navigate the individual health insurance marketplace, per the Flex Plan — although it’s not clear exactly what that means.
Nonexempt REI employees — those who receive overtime pay for logging more than 40 hours in a week under the Fair Labor Standards Act — averaging at least 20 hours per week can access the company’s Flex plan, which shoulders most of the premium burden for medical and dental coverage.
The exact share depends on the plan selected — there are several. Exact premium costs aren’t publicly available. Vision coverage is less generous.
REI also offers basic life insurance, disability insurance, and 401(k) plans that are immediately available to part-timers who work 20 hours per week. It shoulders the full cost of life and disability insurance.
The retirement plan includes a dollar-for-dollar company match, up to 5% of total income, with the potential for a profit-sharing 401(k) 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. Every REI employee is entitled to generous discounts on REI products and services, including 30% off trips taken with REI Adventures.
A brick-and-mortar retailer that still offers solid benefits to part-time associates in its stores and warehouses? Believe it or not, that’s Staples, the office supply giant that maintains a network of retail outlets to complement its growing e-commerce engine.
Staples provides health insurance coverage and a slew of other benefits to hourly and full-time employees, including store-based associates and corporate campus workers.
However, Staples holds hourly workers to a strict definition of “part-time” for its health insurance plan: working an average of 30 hours or more per week during the plan’s measurement period.
For part-timers who qualify for Staples’ health plan, the benefits are quite attractive: full coverage for in-network preventive care, relatively low deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, and reasonable coinsurance for services not covered in full (the employee pays 20% of service costs).
Optional vision and dental coverage are available. Staples doesn’t publicly reveal premiums for health, vision, or dental coverage, however.
Part-time Staples employees qualify for a host of additional benefits, including a 401(k) plan with a company match of 50% on the first 6% of eligible contributions, various nonmedical insurance plans and voluntary group benefits (disability insurance, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and even pet health insurance), and retail discounts (10% off all purchases online or in-store and an additional 10% off branded Staples products).
8. 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.
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 offseason.
Nonseasonal Land’s End part-time staff are immediately eligible to contribute to a 401(k) plan, the details of which aren’t publicly available.
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.
And all employees receive discounts on Land’s End products and at Sears retail locations.
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 customer service roles average around $12 per hour, with management earning a few dollars more, according to Indeed. And most part-timers are eligible for employee benefits.
U-Haul offers a limited medical and dental plan that features a medical reimbursement plan that covers the cost of specific medical services for part-timers and temporary workers up to a defined benefit amount that’s not publicly disclosed.
These medical benefits don’t meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so supplemental insurance may be required. Full-time employees are eligible for more generous medical plans that do meet the ACA’s minimum requirements.
Separately, part-time and temporary U-Haul employees are eligible for basic dental and vision coverage with 100% coverage for preventive visits and exams and reasonable dental copays — 20% for basic services and 50% for major services — once the low annual deductible is met.
After a year of service, part-time U-Haul employees are eligible for a direct stock purchase plan that’s 100% vested after six years. Part-timer U-Haulers are eligible for the company’s 401(k) plan after 30 days of service with a default contribution of 3% of gross pay, although there’s no company match.
Additional perks include optional insurance coverages (including auto and homeowners insurance), discounts on U-Haul equipment, and access to a company credit union.
10. JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co is a blue-chip financial institution with a storied history and a reputation that’s alternately buttoned-up and high-flying.
Its products and services are too diverse to name here, but the most recognizable bits of its business include consumer and business bank accounts, private wealth management services, and a host of popular cash-back credit cards and small-business credit cards.
Chase might not seem like the best choice for a part-time summer job or side hustle, but it actually treats part-time employees pretty generously. After 60 days of employment, those logging more than 20 hours per week are eligible for a generous benefits package.
Chase employees can choose from one of two medical coverage options, both of which qualify as “consumer-driven health options” with a medical reimbursement account (MRA) that helps employees pay for certain medical costs not covered by the plan itself.
Most plans cover 100% of the cost of in-network preventive care, no exclusions for preexisting conditions, spouse and domestic partner care, and more. In all cases, Chase shoulders some premium costs, although it doesn’t make details of this arrangement public.
Generally, veteran employees and those with higher positions of responsibility within the company enjoy more generous cost-sharing arrangements.
Chase also supports three dental plan options with similar cost-sharing arrangements: preferred dentist program (PDP), dental maintenance organization (DMO)/dental health maintenance organization (DMHO), or traditional indemnity dental option.
A separate health spending account option, with variable employer contribution, is available as well.
Chase offers a slew of additional benefits for 20-hour-plus employees: flexible spending accounts (including accounts earmarked specifically for transportation and elder care), long-term disability insurance paid in full by Chase for employees earning under $60,000 per year (likely to include most part-timers) and partially for higher-compensated employees, life insurance, AD&D insurance, personal liability insurance, discounted employee stock purchase program, 401(k) plans with variable but generous employer contributions, and more.
Fans of fast-casual fare likely need no introduction to Chipotle, a Denver-based quick-serve restaurant chain with more than 2,500 locations in North America and more than 60,000 employees, many of whom work part-time.
What’s more surprising, given the restaurant industry’s razor-thin margins and high employee turnover, is Chipotle’s apparent commitment to its part-time staff (“crew,” in Chipotle lingo)
Chipotle is also admirably transparent about its benefits package for part-timers; a detailed summary is available here.
Most Chipotle crew members can choose from one of two medical coverage options; California-based employees may have more options.
The Anthem Preventive Plus option has lower premiums but skimpier coverage, while the Anthem Hourly PPO has higher premiums and more generous benefits. Chipotle doesn’t make the specific details of either plan available to the general public, however.
Chipotle also offers optional dental and vision coverage for hourly part-timers. Specifics for these plans aren’t publicly available either.
Chipotle offers a host of additional benefits, ranging from tasty (free meals on every shift) to invaluable (free access to emotional counseling and health care advocates).
a year of uninterrupted service, employees qualify for an additional slate of benefits, including 40 hours of paid vacation time and 24 hours of paid sick time per year, up to $5,250 in tuition reimbursement, a company match in a Chipotle 401(k) account, gym discounts, and discounts with retail partners like AT&T and Verizon.
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 health insurance plans still tend to be more affordable than plans purchased on the private market, especially when companies help subsidize the cost.