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Part time employee with Benefits California

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  • Part time employee with Benefits California

    it's kinda a long story, but please help me.

    I currently work in a local small bank in L.A. My original offer is part-time employee with 28 hurs/week. But we are short of people, my supervisor asked me to work over 30 hours per week. According to our company policy, Part time employee who works over 30 hours per week will have the benefits of vacation and health insurance. And now the HR person is giving me a hard time. I thought I should get the benefit due to over 30 hours working time per week, HR says that if I want to have the benefits, she has to decrease my hourly rate pay to match whatever the company pays for my insurance. I argued with her that claiming benefits has nothing to do with my hourly rate, it's just my rights. She said that at the first, she offered me a higher part time rate because I was not eligible for benefits, but if I want to have benefits, then she has to decrease my rate because the company pays too much to me.

    I personally think this doesn’t make sense at all. I thought there is some kinda regulation or labor law indicates that employees work over 30 hours per week should have benefits, it’s the employee’s rights. I have this understanding because all the banks I had worked for have such policies for part time employees, and some other very small size companies have such policy. But HR says, there is no such law says part time employee who works over 30 hours per week should have benefits,o ther banks doing this just for different reasons, ex. competition.

    I would like to know is there any state regulation indicates that part time employee who works over 30 hours per week, it’s their rights to receive benefits from the employer?
    I am very very appreciates to anyone who can answer my question. THANK YOU!
    If I can have legal proff to show her, I will have better chance to win this. I guess I can only use the company policy to argue with her, but she is the director of HR Dept., I don't think that's good enough to fight with her. PLEASE, HELP ME!
    Last edited by moonymandy; 04-23-2009, 02:49 PM.

  • #2
    To my knowledge, there is no state rule in CA that says employers must provide benefits, either based on number of hours worked or at all. Past that, legally you are talking about two very different types of benefits.
    - Employer provided health care plans are covered by the federal ERISA law. While the employer is not (under federal law) required to offer a health care plan, if the employer chooses to do so, then the employer must have a formal written plan document for the plan, and must provide something called the Summary Plan Document to employees if requested.
    - Vacation/PTO is not normally an ERISA level benefit. It is possible in theory to turn it into an ERISA level benefit by using an outside trustee and administrator but in practice this is supposed to be a very rare occurrence. Past that, the feds have basically no interest in vacation/PTO. CA does have some rules on vacation/PTO, just not the ones you want them to have. I can give you a pointer to what vacation/PTO rules actually do exists in CA.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


    • #3
      Okay, thanks for the answer.

      Right now, i can only fight with HR using "Company policy", and hope my big boss will help me to solve this issue with HR.


      • #4
        When it comes to benefits, the plan rules must be adhered to, or the plan (if it is a tax-preferred plan) risks losing the tax-preferred status.

        You would have to look at the Summary Plan Document (or ask HR) what the rules are regarding when employees become eligible for specific benefits (the eligibility rules can be different per plan).

        Many plans I've seen regarding medical insurance, for example, state that part-time employees must work XX hours for YY period of time, or an average of XX hours in the immediately preceding ZZ months) before they become eligible.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.