Employers Serving Up Benefits for Part-Time Workers
Employers are beginning to step up efforts to attract and retain age 50+ workers. In addition to flexible schedules (the #1 ask from older workers), they’re offering benefits to part-timers.
These days, retirement is not as clear cut as it was when work stopped permanently at a certain age. 4 out of 5 workers responding to a nationally-representative survey (81%) by the Age-Friendly Institute say they would consider going part-time if they could still receive benefits.
Half of workers responding to the survey (48%) say they would also consider delaying retirement under terms where their benefits are still available.
Benefits brokers and consultants to larger corporations see a trend in employers getting flexible. Says Ted Kane, Partner in the large employer benefit practice at Brown & Brown, “increasingly, we see employers making benefits available to employees working as few as 20 hours per week. That’s down from about 30. We always recommend to employers that they meet employees where they are, and it’s clear that people are not retiring in the same way that they used to”.
Working part-time in retirement is now very common. Whether this is part of someone’s early retirement strategy or an extension of work beyond a traditional retirement age, there may be a need to supplement savings and social security with part time work. This can help to cover the cost of benefits before age 65 when one becomes Medicare eligible. For those who want to retire early, health insurance can cost up to $1,000 per month.
There is an opportunity for employers to retain valuable workers and facilitate a smoother transition of knowledge and responsibilities. Only 21% of workers say that when they moved from full time to part time it was with the same employer. This could be because their existing employer did not offer phased retirement or part-time opportunities, forcing them to look for other options when reduced hours or more flexibility was needed.
Still A Ways To Go
While a trend is underway, health benefits for part-timers are not yet ubiquitous. Only 10% of survey respondents working part-time indicated that their benefits were either partially paid for or that they had access to healthcare at group rates for which they pay the full cost.
Even if a part time job does not offer healthcare benefits, as of 2024, the SECURE Act has provisioned that part-time workers who work at least 500 hours in three consecutive twelve-month periods now must be allowed to participate in 401(k) or ERISA-governed 403(b) plans to continue retirement savings just like their full time counterparts. In 2025, the work requirement will be reduced to two years.
Though healthcare benefits are not the only reason older workers choose part time work, it can be a part of a larger objective. Managing expenses, making money last and potentially delaying the start of claiming social security to receive the highest benefit possible can be improved both by the income of a part time job and from access to healthcare and other benefits provided by an employer.
Availability of benefits to part-time workers is most prevalent in retail and food service where part-time jobs are common. Roles can be found in almost every industry though they may be harder to find… for now.
Sampling of Employers Offering Benefits to Part-time Employees
[Employers in bold are designated by Age-Friendly Institute as a Certified Age-Friendly Employer]
Abercrombie & Fitch
Aetna (a CVS Health company)
American Red Cross
Bain & Company
Bank of America
Barnes & Noble
Becton, Dickinson (BD)
Booz Allen Hamilton
Bristol Myers Squibb
Consolidated Edison (Con Edison)
Cost Plus World Market
Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse)
Delta Air Lines
Dick's Sporting Goods
Disney (The Walt Disney Company)
Eli Lilly and Company
EMC Insurance Companies
Emerson Electric Co.
Ernst & Young (EY)
Ford Motor Company
General Electric (GE)
General Motors (GM)
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
- Cities (e.g., Boulder, CO; Minneapolis, MN)
- Counties (e.g., Chesterfield, VA)
- States (e.g., Commonwealth of Massachusetts)
Johnson & Johnson
JP Morgan Chase
KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root)
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Lutheran Senior Life
Mercury Insurance Group
Monsanto (now part of Bayer)
New York Life Insurance Company
NYU Langone Health
Owens & Minor
PNC Financial Services Group
PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group)
Sprint (now part of T-Mobile)
Starwood Hotels & Resorts (Marriott)
State Farm Insurance
State Street Corporation
T. Rowe Price
The Walt Disney Company
TJX Companies (T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods)
WellCare (now part of Centene Corporation)
The Age-Friendly Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of older adults age 50+ in December 2023. There were 253 respondents.