Why Should Corporations Pay Medical Insurance and Sick Leave Benefits for Part-time Employees?
A part time employee is one “who is employed for an average of fewer than Forty hours per week or who has been employed for fewer than six of the twelve months preceding the date on which notice is required.”1 The importance of part time positions in the work force is growing due to such benefits as flexibility. Debates have raged over whether or not part time employees should receive the same full benefits package as full time employees.
My position in this paper is that part time employees do deserve benefits similar to full time employee. I will show that treating employees differently may cause resentment and giving additional benefits to this group will help motivate the part timers. Employees take jobs because of their need to fulfill the necessities of life, family and home!
First, treating part time employees differently from full time employees may breed resentment between these two groups. It may instill in the part timers the perception that they are inferior, while giving those working full time the impression that they are superior. This may lead to conflicts in the workplace, which will ultimately affect productivity.
Secondly, giving the part time employees such benefits as sick pay and health insurance is a way of motivating them. Motivation increases productivity, which is beneficial to the company in the long run, and so it is in the company's best interests to award the part time employees such benefits.
In addition, part time employees are mostly women constrained by the multiple pressures of child rearing, domestic responsibilities, and the need to make a contribution to the family budget. They may also be students, driven by the need to make an extra penny to meet educational costs. In other words, most part time employees belong to financially vulnerable groups, which may not be able to adequately cater for their health expenses. Because they work for fewer hours, their earnings may be inadequate. Therefore, it becomes socially expedient to extend such benefits to this group of employees.
When a company goes out of its way to treat part time employees well, (for example, by giving employee's sick days and health insurance coverage) it improves its corporate image in the eyes of the public. A good corporate image is not only a tangible asset that reflects well on the company's bottom line, but also has tangible results, which are reflected in improved revenues.
Another argument for part time employees being granted such benefits is that denying them the benefits while simultaneously extending such benefits to full time employees constitutes indirect discrimination. This is not only illegal, but also unethical. For example, when an organization requires that part time employees become full time in order to qualify for the same benefits extended to full time employees, it is likely that more men than women will comply, which will amount to discrimination, a practice outlawed by sex equality legislation.
In addition, labor costs associated with these employees are normally lower than for full time employees. And with corporation moving the bulk of the production to second and third world counties, plus with automation taking over jobs that use to be held by employees, company in recent years shown huge profits and the expense of employees loss. Therefore, the argument that giving them such benefits is a drain on the organization's coffers is neither here nor there.
Those against awarding part timers paid sick leave and health insurance coverage often advance their argument by claiming that giving part time employees such benefits is imposing an unnecessary strain on the company's resources since such employees lack a long term commitment to the firm. On the contrary, awarding such benefits to the part time employees is an effective way of making them develop a long term commitment to the firm. Part timers have the best potential of becoming future full time employees. Therefore, introducing such benefits will assist in developing them as they progress towards taking up their future roles.
They also argue that providing the benefits to part time employees is unfair since full time employees perform other additional duties, not performed by the part time employees. If management indeed imposes additional duties on full time workers not specified in the employment contract, then the solution is not found in denying part timers such benefits in order to create a semblance of equality, but in redefining the job of full timers to reflect the added responsibilities and paying them commensurate with the workload!
Since part time employees perform the same kind of work as full time employees, with the only difference being the number of hours worked, they fully deserve to be paid such benefits. The argument should not be based on the number of hours worked in a day, since they already are paid less for working fewer hours.
In my conclusion I hope to have demonstrated that paying for employees medical and sick days will show an increase in moral, productivity, better qualified personnel, free advertisement, because by word of mouth those employees will be happier and talk about their place of employment, and the products they make, which intern will lead to less paid advertisement needed “which will be a huge saving” and last the total increase to the bottom line!
Finally, if there is no other reason that compels organizations to pay part-time employees such benefits, then they ought to do so because law requires it. The Protection of Employees (Part-Time) Act 2001 is categorical that part time employees qualify for such benefits.
1. The 'Lectric Law Library's Lexicon On Part-Time Employee.