woman working part time
  • Time Tracking

Part time work: definition, workers' right and benefits

Isadora De Angeli

An Introduction to Part Time Work

A part time job is any work that takes only a few hours of your day. A part time worker only works for some hours a week, and they’re done, unlike full time workers who dedicate their entire day. There isn’t a specific number of hours that makes you a part time worker, as this will be defined by the employer and employee.

Comparison between part time and full time jobs

The only difference between full time and part time work is that for full time, you are required to dedicate the whole day. In most cases, you are supposed to work for over 30 hours a week. As for a part time job, you don’t work the whole, you just have to dedicate more than 12 hours a week.

Examples

Part time jobs are mostly applicable to students or people with two jobs. A student might be attending classes during the day and working in the evening at a community library for 3 hours each night. On the other hand, full time jobs are meant for career people and they should work for at least 8 hours in a day. A good example is a high school teacher who attends school from 8 a.m to 4 p.m.
Each type of job has its advantages and downsides.

As a full time worker, you’ll be able to practise and learn a lot during the pro-longed hours. These types of jobs are also associated with good salaries and better working conditions. However, you’ll have to sacrifice plenty of time to get your work done. As for part time work, you only get away from your normal life for a few hours, so you can still take up other jobs or activities. Again, most part time work requires little skills and talent.

Employee looking at his schedule

How do part time jobs work?

It’s as simple as it sounds: a part time job is any job that requires you to work for a few hours. The rules and setup of the arrangement are based on the company’s standards and regulations. The employer defines what they consider part time and publishes it in the guidelines. Traditionally, part time jobs have always been defined as any work that needs less than 50 hours a week. However, other employees view working for 35 hours as full time. In most companies, the main difference between part time and full time work is the benefits like health insurance, paid vacations, and sick leave.

Part Time Employee rights in the UK

Working part time has its benefits just like working full time. There are only a few differences in the rights and these come in depending on the company you work for. Part time work rights in the UK include:
• Equal pay rates paid sick and parental leaves
• Pension opportunities equal to full time employees
• Holiday vacations and rights like full time employees
• Training and career opportunities
• Consideration for promotion and redundancy
• Can take a career break

Can part-time workers be treated differently?

Part time employees should be treated the same when it comes to pay rates, pension, holidays, training, promotions, and career breaks. However, some benefits will be applied pro-rata (in equal proportion to the total hours worked). Let’s say a full time employee is given a £2,000 Easter bonus, and if there is a part time employee working half the number of hours, the company will give them £1,000. Another difference in the treatment is that a part time worker won’t be considered to have worked overtime unless they cover the total hours of a full time worker.

When do employers treat part-time workers differently?

In some situations, the employer doesn’t have to treat a part time employee like a full time employee. However, the employer has to prove they have a good reason for the objective justification. For example, an employer might not provide a part time worker health insurance and this can be objectively justified. One reason could be that the costs incurred will be un-proportional to the benefits the company gets from a part timer. To make the conditions better, the employer can ask part time workers to contribute to the extra cost to get health insurance.

Two colleagues walking through the company

Benefits and disadvantages of part time work

For the employer

Most employers prefer hiring part time workers because it cuts down the cost of labour. They’re able to save substantially by not offering some benefits to part time employees such as health insurance. For small businesses hiring part time workers is less risky and costly in terms of financial commitment.
Some companies also hire part time workers intending to expand their ability to recruit diverse qualified employees. For instance, a student might have better qualifications a company requires, but the person is only available to work during evening hours.

Another advantage of hiring part time workers is that the company gets to try out an employee before committing to hiring them full time. During this time the employers assess the person’s job fit, skills, and willingness to learn and contribute to the betterment of the company.

For the employees

As a part time employee you most enjoy getting paid for working a few hours a day. Therefore, you can still do other activities such as other jobs, studying, or staying at home during your free time. Another benefit is that you’re entitled to income support, pension credit, housing benefit, and council tax support. During your part time work, you also get to showcase your talent and skills which might make the employer consider you for a full time job in the company.

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