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Human Resourse Management: Part-time Employee Benefits

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With just under 100 employees, Jackson, Smith and Henderson CPA (JSH) is considered one of the fastest growing certified public accounting (CPA) firms in the area. Alan Jones was recently hired as the director of human resources and has many challenges ahead of him as he works to formalize the human resource practices of the firm.
As the benefit open enrollment period is approaching quickly, his first job is to review the benefit offerings of the firm to ensure that JSH is competitive with other area firms. Beyond the legally required benefits, the firm currently offers a fairly basic benefit package including health care insurance, a 401(k) plan, vacation days, and sick days.
Currently, all employees are full-time, and all employees are eligible for benefits. However, two employees have recently requested part-time schedules. Further, in order to meet future unique staffing needs, the firm is considering hiring part-time workers in several departments, including CPAs. Therefore, Alan must make a recommendation to the company's board of directors on whether or not they should extend the benefits to part-time workers.
A recent compensation survey of businesses in the local geographic area includes information about benefits. The survey reports that about 90 percent of companies in the area offer time off benefits to part-time employees, but only 40 percent offer health care insurance, and 15 percent offer a retirement savings plan. A national survey of CPA firms showed a different picture for part-time workers: 95 percent of firms reported time off offerings, 75 percent offered health care insurance, and 67 percent offered retirement benefits to part-time workers.
The job market for talented CPAs is competitive and Alan knows that they will need to hire both full-time and part-time CPAs in the future. Alan's initial reaction is that they need to offer all benefits to both full-time and part-time workers in order to be competitive with other CPA firms. However, the costs to do so are significant. The current benefits package is approximately 30 percent of the total compensation package for full-time workers. While time off benefits and 401(k) contributions for part-time workers would be pro-rated based on the number of hours each employee works, offering health care insurance is a fixed cost. That is, the firm must pay the same to cover a part-time worker as a full-time worker. As a result, benefit costs could potentially approach nearly 50 percent of the total compensation for part-time employees. Part of this cost could be offset by asking part-time workers to pay a higher percentage of the premium, but the cost would still be significant. Alan must balance recruiting needs against a tight budget, and he is concerned about the right path to take.

Identify and describe in detail at least three factors that Alan should consider when determining whether or not to offer benefits to part-time workers.

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Solution Summary

This 498 word response includes 2 solid references to bind the information together. It covers three factors that need to be considered when determining whether to offer part-time employee benefits. It is a case study for a CPA firm known as Jackson, Smith and Henderson (JSH).