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Working Part-time Instead of Full-time

Updated on April 1, 2013
ChrisMcDade8 profile image

Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 18 years in the public sector.

Christine McDade is an experienced human resources manager.

Choosing to spend more time on the simpler things in life, like gardening and nature walks,  would be most welcome to a lot of employees.
Choosing to spend more time on the simpler things in life, like gardening and nature walks, would be most welcome to a lot of employees. | Source

Sign me up! Working part-time versus full-time would be a no brainer for a lot of people these days. Balancing work life with personal life demands can be a never ending challenge with more losers than winners in the game that is life. Even employees who genuinely like the job they do would be tempted to cutback if the opportunity presented itself. A little extra time to spend on a part of life that is not associated with work would be a temptation that few could resist. Working a reduced work schedule through part-time employment would be a means for achieving that desired free time to do more of what one wants to do rather than more of what one has to do.

The Purpose of Part-time Employment

Traditional part-time employment is seen as work that does not require the full-time commitment of forty hours per week to perform a job. While the hours vary from what constitutes the part-time status, anything from mid-thirties and less can be the time that a part-timer works for an employer. In addition to working fewer hours, part-time employees receive fewer benefits, if any, from their employer. Some part-time employees might receive a pro-rated sick or vacation leave time accrual in addition to the perks of having access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Employee Clinic and/or employee discounts at the local gym or amusement park. Part-time employees fill a manpower need that helps an organization meet its strategic goals.

During the recent high unemployment rates that swept through the country, many individuals were grateful to get part-time positions because good full-time jobs were hard to find. Many employees are also glad to take a part-time job with the hopes that it will lead to a full-time job at a later time. A reduced work schedule can also leave more time for the individual looking for a full-time job to go to job interviews while still holding on to a money making opportunity. During the recent economic challenges that affected employers, part-time employment kept many families fed and able to survive until they were able to get more lucrative job opportunities.


Part-time Employment Change on the Horizon

Employers are now grappling with how to address changes from President Obama's health care reform that is scheduled to launch a significant change in January of 2014 that will affect part-time employees. As one of the goals of healthcare reform is to make affordable health insurance available to all U. S. citizens, the reform will require employers to provide health insurance to all employees who work thirty or more hours per week. The cost to take on these employees and their healthcare costs will be a hardship for employers, especially those smaller employers. As the American workplace is rebounding from tougher recent years, the addition of this financial responsibility will be quite an undertaking to implement.

Employers are trying to determine if their operations must reorganize to deal with the changes that will affect 30-hour employees who will be eligible for health benefits.
Employers are trying to determine if their operations must reorganize to deal with the changes that will affect 30-hour employees who will be eligible for health benefits. | Source

Who Will Accept Part-time Employment?

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, people accept part-time employment because they do not want a commitment that keeps them tied to a business forty or more hours per week. If healthcare benefits are to be added to the compensation package for part-time employees, there may be employees who can afford to choose part-time hours instead of full-time. With the addition of health benefits for working less hours per week, employees may choose to make part-time compensation work for their families through prioritizing of wants versus needs for their families. The value of having more time to be at home with family might be worth the consideration of such a change to a household. Working part-time may only be an option for one head of household, but it will still be better to have one full-time working parent and a part-time working parent to help manage a household. The parent working part-time will have more opportunity to care for those demands that must be met in one's personal life.

More free time from the job will give part-time employees the opportunity to travel and enjoy personal time.
More free time from the job will give part-time employees the opportunity to travel and enjoy personal time. | Source

Part-time Work Remains Important for the Workplace

Part-time employees will continue to fulfill an important role in the workplace. Organizations are able to meet their goals because they have selected the right number of employees to get the work accomplished. Many organizations have found that hiring part-time employees as part of the workforce is a very effective strategy for being successful. Employees who have the opportunity to accept this type of reduced work assignment will continue to receive the same workplace protections such as Title VII, ADEA and other laws created to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment. Obamacare will offer some part-time employees the opportunity to have affordable health care benefits. Being needed for their work contribution, having the same workplace protections as full-time employees, and the opportunity to purchase health benefits will make working part-time a very attractive venture for many to consider.

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    • VacationCounts profile image

      Scott Petoff 

      5 years ago from USA and Ireland

      Choosing to become a part-time employee can certainly free up more time for family, travel and enrichment. That is a great opportunity for people that are at a stage of their career and life where part-time makes financial and personal sense. However like your helpful article states, it is important to understand the difference in benefits offered in conjunction with recent and upcoming changes to healthcare law.

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