For the unemployed or employed who hope to secure company-sponsored health care, the good news is that certain companies offer that benefit to part-timers.
The bad news is that companies including Target are paring down their benefits to part-time employees. This week the retailer announced that it will discontinue health insurance coverage for its part-time retail staff starting April 1, in part due to the recent introduction of health insurance marketplaces, but will give a cash payout of $500 to those losing coverage.
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Previously, Target "team members" who worked as little as two and a half days a week were eligible for company health care coverage after six months. The company points out that less than 10 percent of its total retail staff participates in its part-time health plan.
But there are still companies that are offering health benefits for part-time employees.
Here are 11 companies that offer health care benefits to its part-time workers, with a little something for everyone:
Whole Foods "team members" regularly scheduled to work more than 20 hours but less than 30 hours per week are eligible for medical insurance upon hitting certain service hour thresholds. To be considered full-time employees, employees need to work at least 30 hours per week. Part-time employees are eligible to receive other benefits, including paid time off and a 20 percent store discount. Employees who voluntarily opt to participate in the "Team Member healthy discount incentive program" could receive up to an additional 10 percent store discount, according to a Whole Foods spokeswoman. Employees select their benefits package through a company-wide vote every three years.
Stock options are also granted to all employees once they have accumulated 6,000 service hours.
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Whole Foods Market also offers "gainsharing" to part-time workers, which lets them earn monthly dividends, such as "Labor Surplus payouts" from the excess labor budget of their individual teams.
Last year's "gainsharing" sales incentive program total was $99 million while average team member payout per hour was $0.87. The average total team member payout was $2,418.49.
Since 1988, Starbucks, based in Seattle, has offered "a comprehensive compensation program" that recognizes and rewards employees, or "partners," the company says.
This benefits package includes "competitive" base pay, health care for eligible full and part-time partners, with an average of 20 hours per week, and equity in the company in the form of Bean Stock.
Last year, Starbucks store and non-executive employees received over $234 million in pre-tax gains from Bean Stock, a spokeswoman said.
Starbucks also offers a 401(k) savings plan with employer match, tuition reimbursement, short-term disability, paid vacation time, and a 30 percent in-store discount.
The spokeswoman says that the premiums that employees pay are lower than those they would pay at 80 percent of other retailers. Starbucks funds approximately 70 percent of the premium costs and covers 100 percent of preventive care services, including full coverage of women's preventive health, she said.
This year, Lands' End will hire approximately 2,000 employees to work in its call center and distribution centers, with many part-time workers receiving benefits such as the employee discount, access to the on-site medical clinic and use of the on-site fitness center and child care center.
Lands' End, based in Dodgeville, Wis., was acquired by Sears Holdings in 2002.
Lands' End offers ongoing part-time employees dental, vision and life insurance benefits in addition to the employee discount, on-site medical clinic and fitness center options, according to Hawkins, though on-going part-time and seasonal hourly requirements are dependent upon each department.
Seasonal employees who commit to returning the following holiday peak season receive extended benefits for the entire year.
Stephen Holmes, spokesman for Home Depot, said the company offers dental, vision, critical illness and disability coverage to employees who have worked at least 90 days.
Home Depot, based in Cobb County, Ga., calls itself the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,263 stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, among other countries. The company has over 300,000 employees.
Starting this month in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, Trader Joe's is offering employer-sponsored health care coverage for employees who average 30 or more hours per week.
This year, the company is providing free coverage for basic dental and vision care to employees who work an average of 15 hours or more per week. Employees who work more than 15 hours per week are receiving $500 in their paycheck in January 2014 to help pay for health care costs.
U-Haul offers part-time U-Haul employees "limited-care" medical and dental plans, and 401(k) and stock ownership plans. They are eligible for travel insurance and U-Haul discounts.
Paid holidays, vacation time and educational assistance are only available to full-time U-Haul employees, the company said.
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Lowe's offers to part-timers a limited health plan, vision, dental, term life insurance and short-term disability. Among other benefits like a 401(k) plan, the company also offers part-time staff the ability to purchase common stock at a discounted price.
Outdoor clothing and gear retailer REI offers employees averaging 20 or more hours per week medical benefits, the company website states. REI pays the full cost for basic life and disability coverage. All regular employees are eligible for the company's annual incentive plan, which is based on reaching individual, department and company goals.
UPS offers hourly employees full benefits, including medical/dental coverage and tuition assistance, according to the company website.
Most part-time positions are covered under collective bargaining agreements and health and wellness benefits may not kick in for part-timers until 12 months from the date of hire, according to a UPS spokeswoman.
Many part-time employees are eligible for tuition assistance benefits. About 45 percent of newly hired part-time workers for UPS in 2010 were college students. The company has "Earn and Learn" programs at around 90 U.S. locations where students can balance school and part-time work.
Part-time employees may be eligible for health care, including dental and medical, on the first month after working 180 days of employment, the company says on its website.
Employees may be able to take advantage of Costco's in-house optical centers for vision care. Costco also has a pharmacy program with its in-house pharmacies for discounted co-payments on generic medications as low as $5, and a co-pay that is generally capped at 15 percent for branded drugs.
Costco's employee website says all employees whose families qualify can receive enroll in the company's "Dependent Care Assistance Plan," which allows workers to pay for day care for children under 13, as well as adult day care, with pre-tax dollars and can save you from $750 to $2,000 a year.
Employees at the hourly level may not be eligible however, for other benefits, such as paid holidays and 401(k) matching, according to Bob Nelson, Costco's vice president of financial planning.
Staples offers part-time workers limited medical coverage andvision after 90 days of employment, except in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Washington.