Can a company choose which Full time employees they offer benefits to?

HR told a part time employee that if they wanted full time they had to
find their own health insurance because it wasn’t in the budget to give
her benefits. HR also told an applicant that she wasn’t hired because it
wasn’t in the budget to hire her if she had to have health insurance.

Asked on May 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

All employers with 50 or more full-time employees are required to provide health coverage to full-time employees or else pay a tax penalty. This is commonly referred to as the "employer mandate". If a company has less than 50 such workers, it is up to their discretion at to whether or not to offer it's employees health insurance. And to the extent it does offer insurance, it can do so for some but not others. The fact is that not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. Discrimination in the workplace is not against the law unless it has to do with a worker being treated differently due to their race, religion, gender, disability, age (over 40), nationality, etc. Benefits are typically provided at an employer's discretion. Accordingly, it can offer some workers benefits but not others (again subject to the above). Further, health insurance must be provided if it is mandated by the terms of an employment contract, union agreement or company policy.

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