By Michelle Goodman
Contrary to popular belief, working a part-time job doesn’t mean you have to forego those almighty benefits.
A number of part-time vocations come with subsidized health insurance coverage, paid vacation days, retirement matching, corporate discounts, and more. You just have to know where to look.
Often, part-time employees must work at least 20 to 30 hours a week to be eligible for company benefits. And some companies won’t cough up the healthcare and financial perks until you’ve been an employee for 3, 6, or 12 months. Still, a benefits package is a benefits package, no matter how you get it.
Whether you’re a stay at home parent returning to the workforce and looking for legitimate at home part-time jobs, a college student in need of extra income looking for part-time weekend retail jobs, or an office worker who’s grown weary of the 60-hour-a-week grind, there’s probably a part-time job with benefits out there for you.
1. Package handler. Do you have a strong back and an aversion to offices? Then you might get a lot of mileage out of loading and unloading packages at a UPS warehouse in one of the 90 cities the shipping carrier serves. Part-timers must work a minimum of 15 hours a week and wait 12 months before being eligible for benefits. But the company fully funds your health insurance premiums and offers tuition reimbursement for part-timers who take harder-to-fill shifts. Median wage: $11 to $12 per hour.*
2. Barista. Pacific Northwest-based Tully’s Coffee serves up some pretty rich perks to the part-time baristas who work in its Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, and Arizona retail locations. Employees who put in at least 17.5 hours are eligible for sick pay, a 401(k) savings plan, a limited health plan, dental insurance, legal services, and a slew of discounts. On top of those perks, baristas who work at least 24 hours a week are eligible for medical insurance (including PPO and HSA offerings), disability insurance, and holiday and vacation pay. Median wage: $8.45 per hour.
3. Test prep tutor. Do you enjoy working with students? If you have some teaching experience and know your way around standardized tests, working as a classroom instructor or private tutor can be a great way to parlay your skills into a part-time job with flexible hours and health benefits. Companies like Kaplan regularly hire instructors and tutors to guide teens and adults through the test preparation process -- from the SATs to grad school admissions testing to professional certification exams. Median wage: $12.22 per hour.
4. Customer service representative. If you’re a people person who’s good on the phone, working as a call center rep might be the gig for you. Not only do many of these jobs lend themselves to flexible, part-time shifts, more and more companies are hiring customer service reps to work legitimate at home part time jobs. U-Haul hires telecommuting E-Hotline Agents who are eligible for health benefits their first day on the job. After 90 days, they’re eligible for the company’s 401(k) savings plan, and after a year, they’re eligible for the employee stock purchase plan. Note: Home-based customer service reps must have a reliable computer and internet connection. Median wage: $11.16 per hour.
5. Computer software test/quality assurance analyst. Are you the person everyone comes to when their latest software purchase has them stumped? Then why not put your tech savvy to work? Software companies -- notorious for their flexible schedules (including part-time hours) and generous benefits -- always need people to test their creations before they ship. Note: A two-year or four-year computing degree or prior programming experience likely will be required. Median wage: $18.84 per hour.
6. Sales clerk/cashier. If you think part-time weekend retail jobs or working for a grocery store take you out of the running for subsidized health care, you’re wrong. Employees of Whole Foods who work at least 30 hours a week and have put in at least 800 hours with the supermarket chain benefit from the company’s fully funded health care plan. Plus, the longer they’re with the company, the more paid days off employees receive for vacation, holidays, and personal time. And after a year with the company, part-time employees are eligible for a 401(k) plan and a 20 percent discount on all store items. Median wage: $8.16 per hour.
7. Bus driver. Don’t want to work in an office or a retail location? With a valid driver’s license and a squeaky-clean driving record, you can try your hand at driving a bus for a living. Not only are the schedules flexible, healthcare benefits and paid-time off are frequently included. In King County in Washington State, after completing a 26-day paid training program, drivers who work at least 12.5 hours a week are eligible for the county’s healthcare package, paid vacation days, and sick leave. And after seven months on the job, part-time drivers are eligible for the county’s retirement plan. Median wage: $12.80 per hour.
8. Medical assistant. Not only is healthcare one of the most recession-proof fields out there, it’s known for offering more than its share of part-time employment options -- complete with health benefits and paid time off. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks medical assistants as one of the fastest growing careers today. Sixty-two percent of medical assistants work in doctor’s offices, performing a variety of administrative tasks. While some medical assistants learn on the job, many come to the field with a one-year or two-year degree. Median wage: $11.26 per hour.
9. Domestic worker. Like the general public but don’t like the hustle and bustle of public places? Then you might like working in a private home as a part-time nanny or house cleaner. In Seattle, the agency A Nanny for You places domestic workers with families, some of whom provide monthly healthcare stipends that workers can apply to their own health insurance costs. Plus, the pet waste removal franchise DoodyCalls, which boasts 40 U.S. locations, offers health coverage to employees who have been with the company 30 days and work at least 30 hours a week scooping Fido’s backyard droppings. Median wage: $13 to $17 per hour.**
10. Temporary office assistant. As companies struggle to operate with leaner budgets, they’re more likely to hire temps to handle pressing projects than add another staff member to their payroll. And while you won’t catch any company doling out benefits to its temps, the agencies that hire these project-based workers frequently offer such perks. Case in point: Express Employment Professionals, a temp agency with 600 offices in four countries that offers its administrative, industrial, and professional temps health coverage the moment they’re placed on their first assignment. After working the requisite number of hours (varies from branch to branch), Express temps also are eligible for holiday pay, a 401(k) program, and computer and job skills training. Median wage: $10.50 per hour.
Michelle Goodman is author of “The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube” and “My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire.”
Source: Salary data from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median, hourly salaries for part-time workers with 1-2 years of experience and do not include any bonuses, commissions, or profit sharing.
* Salary data from UPS.
** Salary data from DoodyCalls.