According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 million U.S. workers are considered part-time. While some of these individuals are unable to find full-time work, four out of five part-timers are doing so for non-economic reasons. That pool of willing part-time workers—almost 20 million strong—may be an untapped asset for your business.
Many individuals choose part-time work as a way of balancing work-life obligations such as childcare, education, and personal needs and interests. Certain industries, such as retail or food service, naturally lend themselves to hiring part-time employees. But even if you traditionally hire full-time employees, there are good reasons to consider bringing part-timers on board, particularly in professional capacities.
The federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, outlines some of the benefits the agency sees to hiring part-time workers. These include attracting and retaining highly qualified or uniquely skilled employees who may not be able to (or choose not to) work a full schedule; providing coverage during recurring workload surges; reducing overall employment expenditures; and supporting diversity goals. The flexibility inherent in part-time employment makes it an attractive arrangement for employer and employee alike, and being able to meet their personal and family obligations can also foster engagement and satisfaction among employees, making part-time work a valuable recruitment and retention tool.
In fact, part-time work has the potential to be extremely satisfying for employees. A survey conducted by The Boston Consulting Group of 200,000 workers around the world ranked the top three contributors to happiness on the job as appreciation for their work; good relationships with co-workers; and a good work-life balance. The right part-time position can deliver all three.
Job sharing is another option for engaging part-time employees, one in which two workers split the duties of a single position. This arrangement works particularly well with positions where there is a clear delineation of duties or coverage. Job sharing takes communication, creativity and planning--including appropriate overlap time where both employees are together in the workplace. For their part, managers of job-sharing employees get the benefits of double the expertise, skills, and problem-solving abilities.
As with any position, it is essential with a part-time or job-sharing arrangement that hours and duties be spelled out in writing. The rules for calculating what constitutes a part-time position, classifying a position as exempt or non-exempt from overtime requirements, and complying with all relevant wage, employment, and benefits laws will depend on the individual job and state in question. It is prudent to check with legal counsel to ensure that all company policies and practices are in compliance with applicable law. For a variety of recruitment and hiring tools, including an interactive Job Description Builder and Interview Question Builder, along with a library of useful sample forms and notices, visit us online at HR360.com.