Revealed: Things That Part-Time Workers Should Know to Protect Their Rights

Revealed: Things That Part-Time Workers Should Know to Protect Their Rights
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Be it to supplement your income, or keep you occupied when you have far too much of time at hand, or be a career option that does not bind you down to office hours; part-time jobs have steadily been becoming popular over the last decade or so.

In countries like the Netherlands and the UK, the part time work force is at an all-time high – in Netherlands, part time constitute more than 35% of its workforce, while in the UK its 24%[1]. And as far as the US goes, in March 2017 alone there were about 28 million people employed on a part-time basis. [2]. Millions!

In case you too are a proud part and parcel of these new-age work force, stop and ask yourself one question first: how many hours is part time? Reason being, you may be being underpaid for a job that takes the better chunk of your day to do!

How Many Hours Is Considered Part-Time Employment

So, the key question here is, how many hours is part time? Despite human resources being a much talked about and studied subject, the term part-time is bandied about amongst recruiters and basically depends on an employer’s whims and fancies. A part-time job could be anything from a little under 30 hours a week, to 40 hours a week. For a 5-day week day, this could mean six to eight hours of work in a day.[3]

Doesn’t sound like part time any more, does it? Especially if a part-time job does not entail the same benefits as a full-time job does, even though legally, an employer cannot discriminate between a part-time employee and a full-time one. [4]

The Most Popular Types of Part-Time Jobs Today

While writing and blogging is an obvious choice for a part-time job, there are other jobs that pay a lot more: think jazz music instructor, pharmacist, dentist, computer programmer, application developer and market research analyst. [5]

The Benefits That Part-Time Workers Can Enjoy

Frankly, while working part-time or even remote may not be for all, and the confusion that surrounds how many hours is part time also does not make this everyone’s cup of tea. In case you still like the idea of working part-time, here go the benefits:[6]

  • You can give more time to the family: If you have an ailing family member, young kids, or just a family with really stressful and time-consuming jobs, your part-time job can be a Godsend to spend more time with the family, kids or even maintaining the home.
  • You can keep yourself occupied: In case you are a homemaker with some free time or in your silver years looking to stave off boredom, a part-time job can come in handy to keep you productively occupied, and earn you some quick bucks as well.
  • You can supplement your income: If you need to boost your income a little, be it as a worker or even a student, part-time jobs can really come in handy and give you the much-needed finances to support yourself a little better.
  • You can learn a new skill: Not all part-time jobs pay all that well, but they are a great way to gain some new experience and learn a new skill, while they pay you for it!
  • Gives you more free time: In case you have found a part-time job that pays almost as well as a full-time one, stick to it for it is a gold mine that lets you support your lifestyle in comfort and even affords you free time to stick to your hobbies, creative pursuits or even another part-time gig!

But You Can’t Ignore the Potential Downsides…

We’ve stated all that was good. Now here comes all that is bad and ugly about working part time! [7].

  • No Job Security: With a part-time job its literally getting hired in the morning, and getting fired in the evening – once the work is done, you are no longer useful to the employer and are mercilessly given the boot.
  • No Benefits: Part-time workers, despite the cloudiness of how many hours is part time, are not given any benefits, be it health, insurance or even the fringe benefits that full-time workers revel in.
  • No retirement protection: Forget pension, being a part-time worker will not give you any benefits in your silver years and leave you high and dry once the employer has no need of you.
  • Less money: As a part-time or remote worker, you may be working just about as hard as a full-time employee, but that will not get you the same or even comparable salary! To top that, don’t expect to be promoted either!
  • Too much of time management: If you are a part-time worker juggling various jobs, home, family and studies; it can leave you exhausted and in constant stress… Too many deadlines are likely to leave you fatigued.

How to Be A Wise And Fully-Informed Part-Time Worker

Now that we have stated the pros and cons, it is for you to decide, depending on your circumstances, whether or not you find part time jobs lucrative and suitable. Here are five tips to steer you in the right direction to finding the ideal part-time gig for you [8]

  • Go Small When It Comes to Companies: Don’t aim your sights too high when it comes to companies who hire part-time employees – bigger companies have all the resources they need to hire full-time workers. It’s the smaller companies, the kinds with 10-99 employees that need to save resources and depend heavily on the part-time workforce.
  • Network, Left, Right & Center: Word of mouth is the best way to go to land a part-time job – let all your erstwhile bosses, colleagues and friends that you are on the lookout for a part-time gig and you may never know which opportunity comes knocking at your door.
  • Expand your Horizons: You may have been one thing when you were a full-time worker, but as a part-time worker, be open to working in an environment that uses a long-forgotten skill set that you had. Similarly while you may be studying for a different subject, if a job comes along that uses skills you are not studying for, don’t turn it down…
  • Go Temp and Then Part-Time: You may be looking for a long-term, part-time gig, but all a job has to offer you is a temp position of a few weeks or months. Don’t turn it down – take it up and shine at it, for all you know your hard work may just turn it into a long-term part-time position, tailor made for you!
  • Scour Job Boards: Websites like Flexjobs.com, craigslist.com, indeed.com are chockablock full of part-time gigs, usually asking for 15-20 hours of weekly time from you for rates that are not luxurious, but likely to make you upwards of a $10 per hour for like writing or editing, and much more for other gigs like programming, dentistry and more…

Be Careful of Your Rights as a Part-Time Worker

As a last word to you, as a part-time worker in the US, you are liable to be paid overtime: Loosely based, any employee who works for less than 30 hours a week is a part-time employee. That said; this ceiling can sometimes also be raised to 40 hours a week.

While the upper limit is still a tad under defined, if you are a non-salaried part-time worker and have put in more than 40 hours of work in a week, your employer is obligated by federal law to pay you 1.5 times the pay for all hours worked over 40 in a given week.[9].

Remember to check your countries part time worker . For instance in Ireland, any part-time worker who puts in more than 20% of what a full-time worker clocks, is liable to receive part pension benefits too! For US, while “how many hours is part time” is still unclear, it is anything from one hour to 34 hours a week. [10].

So while the subject of how many hours is part time is still cloudy and needs a lot more research and some defined labor laws, the part-time job scene is basically thriving and bursting with opportunities. Take up a gig if you like, but keep your eyes and ears open to ensure that you are not being scammed by the employer in any way…

Reference

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