One of the greatest challenges small business owners often face when hiring part time employees is determining what part time employee benefits to offer. Legislation such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act sets minimum requirements for health benefits offered by employers whose staff includes 50 or more full time employees; but when it comes to part time employee benefits for small businesses, the law is largely silent. In fact, choosing if you will offer part time employee benefits is often entirely up to employers.
It can be tempting to save money and not offer part time employee benefits, but more and more small business owners are finding the benefits of appealing to part time employees outweigh the costs. Almost 60% of employees reported the benefits offered by their employer as a key reason they chose to remain in their current job. If small business owners hope to attract and retain high caliber talent, they’ll need to look farther than the pay check they provide. Part time employees often transition to full time, as well, making the value of retaining them even greater. Here are some popular options small business owners may want to add to their part time employee benefits package.
Over three-quarters of all employees receive paid leave including holidays and vacation time, making it the most commonly provided benefit. If you already offer paid leave to your full time employees, you might start by offering your part time employees a pro-rated amount for the hours they work. Keep in mind as well that the Family and Medical Leave Act also requires employees be granted up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during a 12-month period for extreme circumstances. Employees may take this job-protected leave to care for an immediate family member or spouse whose become ill, for the birth of a child, or if they are experiencing a serious medical condition themselves.
Medial benefits are provided to 99% of full time workers and yet not all employers are required to offer health benefits to part time employees. As such, part time jobs with health benefits can be an attractive offering for potential talent. It’ll fall to you to determine the amount of employee contribution you’ll require from part time workers. Typically, you can mandate a higher contribution amount from part time employees than full time employees. Also consult with your insurance provider before setting threshold amounts for part time employee health benefits as they may have minimum hours part time employees must work before becoming eligible for coverage.
Flexible Work Schedules
Flexible work schedules and telecommuting are two popular, low-cost options that appeal to many part time employees. By granting employees some flexibility over when and where they work, you can increase the appeal of your small business over more stringent competitors.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires employers offer all employees who work at least 1,000 hours per year be given access to any qualified retirement plans offered to similar workers. This means employers are free to set a threshold of 1,000 hours or 12 months of service before they begin including employees in their retirement plans. Which brings us around to an important point:
Setting the eligibility requirements for your benefits offering
Before you choose the benefits to offer, it’s important to determine the minimum hours an employee must work to receive these benefits. Most employers opt for a twenty hour per week threshold, but it’s at your discretion. You’ll also need to set the eligibility requirements for receiving your part time employee benefits. Eligibility requirements can include an employee having to work a specified number of months or total hours before they can begin receiving benefits. For instance, you may require employees to work three months or 180 hours before they can begin receiving part time employee benefits.
With the number of companies that offer benefits for part time employees rapidly growing, the need for small business employee benefits packages to include part time employees is growing, too. Small businesses face an uphill battle to begin with trying to compete against larger companies. If you’re looking for ways to help your small business attract and retain talent, consider offering part time employee benefits.