Economic Snapshot | Trade and Globalization

Nonstandard workers, health insurance, and pensions


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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.)


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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