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Benefits  >>   Moving an employee from Part time to Full Time? Search Discussion Posts
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Moving an employee from Part time to Full Time?  
Posted: 11/10/2009 02:18pm   65 Views

Does anyone have a practice or company policy that indicates when an employee is to move from a part time status to a full time status?  For example if an employee is considered part time and is suppose to work 35 hours per week but ends up working 40 hours per week for a period of time 3 months or 6 months, does your company automatically move them to a full time position and provide benefits.  I have been finding that some of our field offices are hiring part time people but then turn around and work them full time hours.  As long as they are classified as part time they do not get health, disability and life insurance benefits.  However, I began monitoring the hours part time employees are working and have found that in some cases they have worked 6 months at full time hours. My thoughts are to review this and move them to full time with benefits after 6 months of working full time hours and then they will remain on benefits a minimum of 6 months.  The reason I feel I need to do this is that once I call the Manager to discuss the situation the employee is miraculously reduced to part time hours immediately.  I do not think this is the right thing to do. Any thoughts, please let me know. Part time employees do get paid  vacation and  holidays, and they may participate in the 401k Plan.



Moving an employee from Part time to Full Time?  
Posted: 11/10/2009 02:45pm   Revised: 11/11/2009 04:47am  

Are these permanent employees? Why don't the managers want to make them full-time? I don't understand their motivation in not wanting to do so. Their budget changes once an employee moves to full time, doesn't it? Why can't they make the part time/full-time decision at hire?

Also, 35 hours isn't too much different from 40 hours. I've seen companies consider 37.5 as full-time. It seems like you are "taking advantage of" these people who are nearly working full-time. Many seem to be working 40 hours, anyway. Isn't it a bit hard to control whether someone works more than 35 hours? Are they being told to stop work at 35 hours just so they are kept as part-time?



Moving an employee from Part time to Full Time?  
Posted: 11/10/2009 05:16pm  

If you have ever run a business or managed a department with a fixed budget, you will figure out pretty fast what the motivation is to keep part-timers off the full-time rolls.  It typically dramatically increases your costs.  Most employers do not have "elastic auto-flex" budgets that expand to supply more money when you blithely choose to increase your head-count of benefit-eligible full time personnel.   


Moving an employee from Part time to Full Time?  
Posted: 11/10/2009 10:07pm  

I am far from an expert, but I think you need to watch ther Erisa hourly limits(I don't know them off the top of my head but possible= 1,000 hours) when they become eligible for benefits.  I would consult a benefits expert or a labor attorney because, imo, you are treading on very expensive grounds if one of these "part-timers" gets wise.


Moving an employee from Part time to Full Time?  
Posted: 11/11/2009 05:10am   Revised: 11/11/2009 06:26am  

Is Cutting Employee Hours to Avoid Benefit Coverage Illegal Under ERISA?

Companies that offer health insurance or other employee benefits typically set some sort of minimum threshold for triggering coverage -- for example, being employed for more than 20 or 30 hours per week.  ERISA is very clear in allowing employers almost unlimited discretion to write their benefit plans in order to exclude part-time employees (or any other category of worker) in this fashion.

But ERISA is equally clear in precluding an employer from making employment decisions for the specific purpose of preventing an employee from obtaining or keeping coverage.  In particular,  ERISA Section 510 provides that

It shall be unlawful for any person to . . . discriminate against a participant or beneficiary . . . for the purpose of interfering with the attainment of any right to which such participant may become entitled under the plan . . .”

In these recessionary times, employers may keep their costs down by deliberately reducing employees from full-time to part-time status, or by refusing to give employees the additional hours necessary to trigger benefit coverage.  Employers should be aware, however, that to the extent work assignment decisions are motivated by benefit costs they may be illegal under ERISA section 510.   



Moving an employee from Part time to Full Time?  
Posted: 11/11/2009 10:04am  

Thanks for posting this.  I found this to be helpful.

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