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When should part-timers become eligible for benefits?

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in The HR Specialist Forum

We have recently hired several part-time employees to gear up for what we hope will be a nice business rebound. Eventually we hope to make them full-timers, but that's going to take a while. In the meantime, we would like to encourage them to stay by offering a limited benefits package. How many hours should we require them to work before they're eligible for benefits?—Sari, Dallas



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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise December 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Our company allows employees who work 24 hours or more to participate in the health benefits plan. It allows us to retain valued employees who work part-time for whatever reason (education, family, etc.). This minimum number is many times the employer’s choice as to what they would like to offer their employees.

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Patricia December 21, 2009 at 9:43 am

We have a 5 tier system based on the number of hours an employee is normally scheduled to work. On-call staff, receive no benefits. Individuals schedule to work 1-15 hours, can participate in a limitied number of benefits and as an employees hours increase so do the tiers and the number of benefits up until 35 hours per week, when they would be eligible for all the benefits.

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jdd December 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm

When they earn the right as 40 hour full time employees

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Jane Callahan August 13, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Nick,

do you remove them from health care if they subsequently fall below 520 hours? If so, how often would you do that?

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Jane Callahan August 13, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Debbie,

Do you take employees off of health insurance if they have a 12 month period in which they do not meet the 1000 hour requirement? do you look at it just once/year?

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Debbie February 11, 2009 at 11:50 am

We give full-time status with full benefits to any employee who puts in a minimum of 1,000 hours per year. This accommodates the employee who is affected by seasonal layoffs, working students being trained and retaining the expertise of semi-retired professionals.

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mfr February 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Health insurance, STD and 401-k are all mandated by your SPD. We pro-rate PTO, holidays etc. You should always do as much as you can for good employees, they drive your business and if you don’t do it someone else will. Our part-time employees give us flexibilty for scheduling depending work flow.

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Michele February 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Both my present as well as previous employers only requred 20 hours of work per week to be eligible for full benefits. Of course both these companies are very large with thousands of employees.

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jdd February 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Never because it takes away from the full time employees that report to work daily and work the regular shifts

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Lori February 10, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Actually it depends on your plan documents/contract. Check your SPD’s (summary plan description). I should be spelled out for you. I have worked where the min was 30 and currently work where our min is 34.

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Nick February 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Depends on your plan doc. Ours allows for health benefits if they average 30 hrs/wk.

At my last job, part-timers were eligible for health after they had worked a total of 520 hours. We got that number by dividing 2080 (# of hours in a work year) by 4 (4 quarters in a year). So, 520 is the number of full-time hours in 3 months, which is what our eligibility period was. May sound complicated, but it’s easy to track through payroll.

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VM February 4, 2009 at 9:25 am

While this may be administratively burdensome if systems are not in place to perform the calculation, part-timers should be eligible for benefits if they average a minumum of 30 hours over a six month period.

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Carol February 3, 2009 at 4:43 pm

We require 30 hours per week for participation in most of our benefit plans. Some of the plan have their own requirements. If the plan documents don’t state a minimum amount, you can make the decision yourselves about the minimum requirements. With our PTO plan, we have two accrual rates: one for full-time, and one for part-time employees who work between 20 and 40 hours. the part-time accrual rate is 1/2 of the full-time rate.

Food for thought, though: If you make the minimums too low, you may run in to an issue of employees not wanting to go full-time when you are able to give them the hours.

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Bob February 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Check with your benefit providers. Some mandate at least 30 hours per week to receive the benefits and are their contract provisions. As for things like vacation, sick leave, etc. we usually prorate the time compared to what full time hourly employees receive.

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