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Do I Have to Work Full Time to get Benefits?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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The question of whether not employees are able to get benefits when they work part-time depends on the employer. Since benefits are an important and valued feature in the eyes of many employees, it can be beneficial to research a company's policy while applying for work there. Questions about benefits are generally frowned upon during the interview, but if the topic of compensation comes up, you can discuss it, and you can also ask around among company employees.

In the best case scenario, everyone who works for a company is able to get benefits, regardless of how many hours they put in. However, this is rare, because benefits can be very expensive, and most companies want to cut costs where they can. More commonly, people who work full time get better benefits than those who work part time. For example, all employees might benefit from a company discount, but only full time employees might get retirement benefits.

If you want to get benefits for health care, many companies set up different plans, depending on the amount of hours employees put in. Full time employees might be eligible for more expensive benefits, like dental and vision, while part time employees might have simpler plans with higher copays or less prescription coverage. In some cases, companies will let employees buy up into a higher benefits package, making better benefits available to those who want to pay for them.

In other instances, you may not get benefits if you work part time. From the company's point of view, it is simply not worth offering benefits to employees who do not work as much, especially in the case of seasonal employees. Some companies actively seek out part time workers for this reason, unfortunately, in an attempt to cut costs. However, if you prove to be a capable and valuable employee, you may be able to get more hours, potentially working your way up to part time status.

There is no hard and fast rule about which employees get benefits. Many government employers, for example, give benefits to all employees, regardless of status, and some big companies which pride themselves on caring for their employees offer benefits to all, while other big companies view restricted benefits as a cost cutting measure. If you work for a company which only offers benefits to full time employees, it may be worth a try to ask about buying into some or all of the benefits in the plan, as companies often negotiate cheaper rates for health insurance and other benefits, and you would not be able to get these rates on your own.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon269679 — On May 18, 2012

Part time employees at Publix do not get many benefits, compared to full time employees. You do not get profit sharing if you work part time until you've been there for over one year. You don't get medical benefits. You don't get paid holidays or vacation ro sick days. You get only $1.00 more per hour if you work one of Publix's holiday days. Yet, they can work you almost 40 hours, and still classify you as a part time employee.

It's how companies cut costs and frustrate good employees who want full time.

By anon157533 — On Mar 03, 2011

My husband is a sole practitioner. He has three employees. They get full benefits, paid sick days and one girl gets 50.00 weekly xtra for gas. I think this is excessive. Does anyone else?

By SauteePan — On Aug 10, 2010

Sunshine31- While the benefits for a lawyer working for the state are quite comprehensive, understand that their pay is considerably lower than that of a lawyer working in private practice.

Many lawyers that represent the state as prosecutors or public defenders do so because of a cause that they want to serve much like teachers do when they take on a teaching position.

By sunshine31 — On Aug 10, 2010

Cupcake15- The type of benefits that lawyers receive depend on if they are working in private practice or representing the state as like a public defender. Those working in private practice receive the benefits afforded by the firm.

Sometimes when a lawyer who starts off as an associate becomes a partner, that lawyer receives a percentage of the firm's profits as a result.

Lawyers that represent the state or work for the government as in the case of a public defender receive state benefits.

These benefits can range from a pension plan which is a guaranteed annuity upon retirement, a 403B plan, paid time off, and full health coverage benefits.

By cupcake15 — On Aug 10, 2010

Greenweaver-You know I always wondered what type of benefits do lawyers get?

By GreenWeaver — On Aug 10, 2010

Oasis11- I can answer that for you. It really depends on the state that the substitute teacher is employed in. Many states allow substitute teachers to participate in the regular teacher’s retirement fund.

Those substitute teachers that are part of a union may receive health benefits, sick pay, and legal representation when needed. Substitute teachers that usually work in private schools or charter schools instead draw from Social Security benefits and not a teacher’s retirement plan.

Usually getting retirement benefits from the state involves working in a public school. These substitute teachers are most likely to receive retirement benefits from teaching.

By oasis11 — On Aug 10, 2010

Sunny27-Well I didn't know that about Publix. I'm curious. Do substitute teachers get benefits?

By Sunny27 — On Aug 10, 2010

While it's true that most companies offer benefits only to their full-time employees, not all companies follow this policy.

For example, Publix supermarkets offer its part-time workforce a full range of benefits. Employees working at least 24 hours a week are eligible for health care benefits, and profit sharing.

With a profit sharing plan, the employee is fully vested after five years of service. At this time the employee may liquidate the account if they choose to do so.

While the full-time employees have more comprehensive benefits, these are still pretty good benefits for part-time employees. Most part-time employees start getting benefits from day one of service.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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