Can I get part-time benefits?

This article also appears on Employee Evolution: The Voice of Millenials at Work.

One of the more annoying traits of being a part-timer (or hourly worker) is the lack of benefits. Now, in most cases you’re not entitled to these benefits because you don’t work hard enough. Economically speaking, I don’t contribute to the company enough to have my health care covered. Heck, most workers these days don’t even get that.

But, I had worked as an intern for a big company over a year. I had worked there longer and put in more hours than a number of new hires. Yet, they immediately get retirement benefits, paid sick days, vacation time and profit-sharing.

Why? I’ve contributed far more than they have. I worked 40 hours each week this summer! I was the one who contributed to that profit! How am I rewarded? I get to leave early the Friday before Memorial Day. Nice! Wait, no. That means less hours and therefore, less pay.

Sure, I’d rather be home but why do I get the sense I’m being cheated just a little? What about offering some part-time benefits for interns and seasonal employees?

  • Telecommute time: Allow me to work from home on Friday. Heck, as long as I answer emails I can be anywhere, right?
  • Discounts: You’re a big company, can you give me some other (B2B) perk like a cheaper wireless plan or maybe some food from the cafeteria?
  • Paid-vacation: If you let me take a week off in the summer (and kept the paycheck coming) might I be more willing to come back to work refreshed and relaxed thanks to you?
  • Monthly training: The worst feeling is knowing you haven’t learned anything new at your job. Send me to the courses that interest me. It’s better than an afternoon spent browsing YouTube.
  • Intern trading: Let me explore another part of the company for a week or two. Put me in another group for a bit and see what happens.

Sure, some ideas may cost more than anyone is willing to put up. But, when you merely assign me as an hourly worker with a time-sheet don’t you think I have an incentive to maximize my time spent rather than utility generated? Keep me motivated, excited and interested and I’ll love to work for you.