While many have cheered the economic recovery, many analysts have reminded us that our celebration may be premature. A close look at the data reveals that the U.S. economy has created over four times the number of part-time jobs compared to full-time jobs the previous year; and recent reports issues by the Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrate why that’s such a problematic trend.
The BLS report shows that, when compared to their full-time colleagues, part-time employees have far less access than to employer-provided health care benefits, workers compensation benefits, retirement savings, and paid sick leave.
Only 1 in 4 workers have access to employer-sponsored health care, while nearly 85% of full-time workers get covered, according to BLS findings. Likewise, a quarter of part-time workers receive some paid-sick leave, as opposed to 75% of full-time workers. Finally, retirement benefits mark another significant distinction: 3 out of 4 full-time workers get some kind of retirement contributions from their employers, while only 37% of part-time workers receive help.
The gap between benefits of full and part time workers is laid out in the chart below:
Recessions and recoveries are generally followed by a substantial increase in part-time hiring. The current economic recovery has been sluggish in adding full-time jobs, which has pushed millions of American workers into part-time positions when they really want (and need) traditional 40-hour work weeks. With the rate of workplace injury on the rise, this become especially troubling to those who do not have access to workers’ compensation benefits.
Corporate executives explain that in a still subpar economy, they’re not overly anxious to invest in a full-time workforce. But ironically, the slow recovery has hardly kept corporate profits from skyrocketing while companies squeeze more and more from already-pinched employees.
Critics of Obamacare say that the upsurge in part-time jobs is the outcome of employers recoiling from the new health care reform law, which mandates health care coverage for full-time workers at large fims. However, that argument ignores the fact that the part-time recovery started to ramp up before the particulars of the Health Care Reform act were available to the public.