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Nonstandard workers, health insurance, and pensions

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A weekly presentation of downloadable charts and short analyses designed to graphically illustrate important economic issues. Updated every Wednesday.

Snapshot for January 12, 2000

Nonstandard workers, health insurance, and pensions

Nonstandard, also called contingent, workers — which includes temps, on-call workers like substitute teachers, contract company workers, and day laborers — are much less likely than regular full-time employees to have health insurance through their employer. Just 12.4% of nonstandard workers, compared with 69.0% of regular full-time workers, receive health insurance from their own employer. Many of these nonstandard workers who would otherwise be uninsured receive insurance coverage through a spouse or other family member or may purchase insurance individually. But even when all sources of health insurance are included, nonstandard workers still fare worse than regular full-timers. Only 74.5% of nonstandard workers are insured compared with 87.4% of regular full-time workers.

Nonstandard workers are also much less likely than regular full-time employees to receive a pension from their employer. Just 12.8% of nonstandard workers have an employer-based pension, compared with 60.3% of regular full-time workers. Some people without employer pensions make their own retirement investments, in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) or Keogh plans, for example. When including these forms of retirement plans, 34.2% of nonstandard and 66.0% of regular full-time workers have pensions. (The percentage is slightly higher — 40% — for nonstandard workers who are considered self employed.)

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Source: EPI analysis of the February 1997 Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

For more information on nonstandard workers, see the EPI Briefing Paper No Shortage of Nonstandard Jobs.

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