Providing part-time jobs with benefits has been a strategic method for keeping companies competitive. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more FTEs must provide health care to its full-time employees, but providing health care to part-time employees remains voluntary. The ACA has drastically changed the way that employers handle part-time jobs with benefits packages. More businesses are relying on part-time workers, and strong benefit rewards may help you attract and retain these employees, regardless of whether they fall under ACA mandatory coverage regulations.

Before an employer decides to offer benefits to part-time workers, there are a few questions they need to ask:

  • What compensation and benefits packages would best keep the company’s staffing practices competitive within the current marketplace? For example, you may determine that young workers looking to work part-time or senior-level employees preferring part-time hours as they near retirement are best suited for the company’s business model and success. These groups may find an offer of health insurance to be a compelling reason to accept and stay with a job.
  • Are there certain part-time employees that I want to retain without making them full-time? Certain management strategies create scheduling gaps in which there is no practical need for an employee in a certain position to work more than 30 hours a week, but because of specialized skills or training, retention remains very important. Providing these employees with health care coverage is one way to retain in-house talent and to recoup on the investment made in training them.
  • What role does offering part-time jobs with benefits play in pursuing growth? Health insurance is the only benefit recognized as a “quasi-fixed cost” for employers. This means the cost per work hour is higher for part-time employees than it is for full-time employees. Employers must assess whether the cost of offering part-time employees health care plans outweighs the business benefits.
  • Would my part-time workers be better off going to the marketplace and receiving a subsidy? Some companies that have previously provided part-time jobs with benefits have decided to stop offering them. According to Bloomberg, one reason for the drop in coverage is that part-time employees may qualify for subsidies in the marketplace. If the employee receives an offer of health insurance that meets the minimum coverage and affordability requirements, the employees lose that subsidy, regardless of whether they can actually bear the cost of the insurance.

Facts That Employers Should Know

The employer mandate applies to coverage for full-time workers: those working an average of 30 or more hours per week or 130 hours in a calendar month. This means that employers are under no obligation to provide part-time employees with health care coverage. Although there is no minimal essential coverage requirement for part-time insurance, employers will find that the low-coverage, “mini-med” plans of the past are no longer available, according to NPR.

You are allowed to set coverage limits for certain groups — for example, those who work 20–29 hours per week. Everyone in the same category must be treated equally in terms of coverage options, however.

Offering part-time jobs with benefits can be a great way to attract and retain talent for some companies. The questions above can help you decide if it makes sense for your business.

This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax and/or other professional advisers.

Simon Breedon is an American journalist and is the SEO & social media manager of KP 360 Agency, Viral Marketing Monsters and SeedAsia. He is also currently the D.C. online marketing examiner for Examiner.com. In 2008, he worked as a Capitol Hill reporter for the Washington Informer, covering the Obama administration.