Part-time work

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Part-time work means a special form of employment that is regular and assures fewer hours than typical full-time work. Working in part-time employment comes from legal provisions or special hours that have been established in a given company. Working part-time gives the possibility of flexible hours and work in shifts. They might be rotational. There is no legal definition defining the minimal number of working hours. In this regard, the employer has total discretion. It is said that workers should be considered as part-time if their number of working hours is less than 30 per week[1].

Characteristic features

The characteristic features of part-time work:

  • Part-time employees receive the same amount of wages as employees working full-time, it is calculated in proportion to the amount of time worked,
  • It is possible to work in two different variants: daily part-time work or weekly part-time work (two-four days per week)
  • Annual leave pay, sick leave, personal and parental leave, long service are also provided as for full-time employees, according to the exact number of hours worked,
  • Employees have the right to paid public holidays,
  • Part-time employees can take longer than commonly used breaks at work.

Forms of employment

Among people working part-time it is possible to identify the following forms of employment:

  • Job sharing, job splitting - in that agreement two employees share their work in one position (full-time), they divide not only wages, but also benefits,
  • Reduction of working hours what is temporary, in difficult times for companies,
  • Part-time shift work,
  • Work as a transition period for older people who are about to retire, they get the same salary for fewer working hours.

Part-time contracts in the world

Europe and the United Kingdom In relation to data provided by the International Labour Organization the number of people working part-time has risen in recent years (excluding the USA). Part-time job is the most popular in the Netherlands, where in 2018 more than 37% of working people were employed part-time. High percentages of these statistics are also observed in Switzerland or the United Kingdom. On the other hand the smallest values are noticed for Bulgaria (1.6%), North Macedonia (2.7%), and Hungary (3.8%). The average for the European Union is 16.6%.

Australia The structure of work in Australia has changed over the past years. A significant change is noticeable - an increase in the number of part-time jobs (classified as working less than 35 hours by the Australian Bureau of Statistics). The number of people working part-time has risen steadily to finally achieve more than one-third of the total employment[2]. What is important, part-time employees are enabled to paid sick leave, annual leave, maternity leave. It works on a pro data basis.

The United States and Canada In the United States, a part-time job means working at least 1 to 34 hours per week. Unlike Australia, in the USA part-time employees are not entitled to valuable benefits like health insurance. It is very common among young people and females to work partially. To be classified as a part-time employee in Canada, it is needed to work fewer than 30 hours per week. It is possible to name students who work a few hours a day as part-time employees. According to the International Labour Organization Data, to 2010 only 1 out of 10 employees in the age of 25 to 54 worked on a part-time contract.

Advantages and disadvantages

Disadvantages on the employee side:

  • Lower income, earning less money is inevitable,
  • Less interesting opportunities - development proposals might be offered to full-time coworkers, since it is more challenging to keep up with the organization and being a part-time employee, what means limited career prospects,
  • Usually fewer benefits full-time employees are offered better benefits, like private healthcare or insurance. Some companies offer equal benefits to all their employees,
  • Higher work intensity, stress - shorter working hours, and weighty requirements,
  • Less job security, job protection than regular full-time employees.

Possible disadvantages on the employer side:

  • High education and administration costs,
  • High cost of work tools, work clothes for a part-time employee,
  • The cost of social security, which can often be more expensive than for regular full-time employees,
  • Problems with communication in the workplace and integration with other employees.
  • Part-time employees might be low skilled.

Likely benefits on the employer side:

  • High employee performance,
  • Cost savings - mainly because of a smaller range of benefits. It is not obligatory to pay the same benefits for time-part employees as for full-time (they must be received what is regulated by legal standards),
  • Part-time employees are more flexible - it is easier to establish a work schedule.

Advantages on the employee side:

  • More time for personal life, part-time job requires less time at work and creates possibilities for hobbies and personal interests,
  • Part-time work might be considered as supplemental income,
  • Part-time work is a good way to get to know the company and job position.


  1. Fagan C. et al., (2014), In search of good quality part-time employment, "International Labour Office-Geneva", No.43
  2. Cassidy N., Parsons S., (September 2017), The Rising Share of Part-time Employment, "Bulletin" Reserve Bank of Australia

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Author: Agnieszka Florczak