How Many Hours Per Week is Part-Time?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 May 2021

Working part-time can be a positive experience in both your personal and professional life. Part-time jobs give you an increased level of freedom and responsibility while allowing you to work in an industry you are passionate about. In this article, we describe how many hours per week is part-time, the pros and cons associated with this type of job and the different part-time job schedules available.

How many hours per week is part-time?

In the UK, there is not an official amount of hours that make up a part-time job. However, a full time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week. Most employers will use this number as a guide. Any job that requires employees to work 35 hours or more is a full time job, anything less is a part-time job.

Pros and cons of a part-time job

There are many factors to think about before choosing a part-time position. While you should certainly consider the company, role, commute and compensation, it's also important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages common among part-time positions.

Pros of working part-time

Part-time work can be great for individuals with flexibility and an openness to trying new schedules. Here are a few examples of part-time job benefits:

Flexibility

Part-time jobs are typically more flexible than full time positions and sometimes allow you to create your own schedule. This is beneficial if you have other obligations such as caring for a loved one, working another job or attending school.

Supplemental income

Part-time jobs are an excellent source of additional income that can supplement other full or part-time jobs. You might also gain a part-time job to support your lifestyle while pursuing other goals, like starting your own business or going to school.

Reduced stress levels

Part-time work usually receives less responsibility than full time work, leaving more time for experiences outside the office. A part-time job can create a space in your life for personal interests, hobbies and spending more time with family.

Future advancement

Part-time jobs can lead to greater things in the future. Many companies will eventually offer full time work to their part-time employees that show initiative and a good work ethic. Part-time work can also be a great way to develop your skills and expertise while you apply to other full-time jobs.

Related: How to Decide if Permanently Working From Home is Right for You

Cons of working part-time

While part-time positions can certainly be beneficial for some, there are a few factors to consider before choosing this type of job:

Lack of benefits

While some employers offer benefits for part-time positions, many do not. During the hiring process, ask the employer about benefits you require such as pension or paid time off.

Less income

Whether you're paid a fixed salary or by the hour, part-time positions sometimes offer less compensation than full time positions. You will also work fewer hours than a full time job and therefore will earn less money overall.

More work with less time

As a part-time employee, you might try to impress your employers by trying to work as hard as full time employees. It is extremely difficult to take on a full workload with part-time hours.

Fewer advancement opportunities

It's difficult to move up within an organisation when you spend less time there than other employees. Being part-time means you may be unaware of some opportunities and managers may view you as less committed than full time employees.

Part-time worker's rights

The UK government guarantees part-time workers' certain rights. These rights prevent part-time workers from being treated less favourably than full time workers. Part-time workers must get the same treatment for:

  • Pay rates

  • Pension opportunities

  • Holidays

  • Training and career development

  • Selection for promotion

There are some situations where an employer can treat their part-time workers differently. To do this, the employer must be able to provide a good reason. This is known as objective justification. For example, an employer may provide private health insurance to full-time employees but not part-time employees. The objective justification for this may be because the costs involved are disproportionate to the benefits. If the reason for objective justification does not satisfy you, you may take the case to an employment tribunal.

Types of part-time work schedule

There are several types of part-time work schedule, including:

  • Freelance schedule

  • Job share schedule

  • Alternate schedule

  • Flexible schedule

  • Seasonal schedule

Freelance schedule

Working on a freelance schedule means you can work whenever you want, as long as you complete the work by the deadline given to you by the company. Companies usually hire freelancers on a contract basis, meaning they hire them to complete certain projects instead of working a set amount of hours. Some freelancers work on-site, while many work remotely. People on a freelance schedule have a large amount of autonomy and must rely on their own organisation and time management skills to get the job done.

Related: Freelance Work: Everything You Need to Know About Freelancing

Job share schedule

A job share is when two people work part-time to complete the work of one full time employee. The specifics of job sharing vary depending on the company. Some companies may want the two workers to work independently while others may require the two employees to work closely and collaborate on their tasks. A job share schedule is great for people who like their job but need to take some time off. The UK government uses this type of schedule frequently.

Alternate schedule

An alternate schedule varies from a typical employee schedule. Employees working an alternate schedule usually do so to accommodate other events in their life. Employers use alternate scheduling to accommodate specific or temporary employee needs regarding pregnancy, family issues or medical requirements. Alternate work schedules are usually temporary but can become permanent if it benefits both the employee and the company.

Flexible schedule

A flexible schedule requires employees to work a certain amount of hours in the offices, and the rest of their workday they may work remotely or wherever they please. This could mean going to the office from 9 am to 12 pm and then working remotely for two hours. This allows employees freedom and flexibility while also requiring them to take part in the main office environment. This is a great schedule for a person who is working part-time as they get to participate in the main office life, allowing them to meet other employees and feel included in the company.

Seasonal schedule

Seasonal work is part-time work that requires employees to work a few months out of the year. During this time, they may work full time hours, over 35 hours a week. The two primary seasonal hiring periods are the winter holidays and the summer. Season work is excellent for companies that need extra workers during their busiest seasons and employees who need a part-time job for extra income. Many companies will hire the same workers for each season to cut down on the amount of onboarding and training.

Related: 20 Side Jobs to Earn Additional Income

Part-time job examples

While there are certainly always jobs in the hospitality and retail industries that offer part-time positions, you can also typically find part-time work in the field of your training. Here are a few examples of high paying jobs that can also be part-time:

Accountant

Accountants monitor and maintain business financial operations. At the end of the tax year, many accounting agencies, businesses and individuals will hire accountants part-time to help deal with the larger than average workload.

Barrister

While many solicitors work full time at a law office, the freelance solicitor is becoming more common. Companies and individuals often hire freelance lawyers on a part-time basis, providing legal advice for a specific reason or amount of time.

Construction worker

Companies often hire construction workers seasonally, when there are large projects that need finishing. If a company hires part-time construction workers, they are usually trying to finish a project before a deadline. This often results in a high salary for part-time workers.

Graphic designer

Graphic designers create print and digital assets such as logos, email templates, websites. Companies also use graphic designers to produce physical marketing materials including banners, advertisements and postcards. Graphic designers often work freelance for several clients at once or may work in-house for just one employer. Companies often hire them to work for specific campaigns and projects.

Network administrator

If you have a Bachelor's degree in computer science or information technology, you might consider a job as a network and computer systems administrator. Network administrators build and supporting internal network systems for an organisation. They're responsible for keeping networks fast and secure. Many companies hire part-time IT consultants on an as-needed basis when issues arise.

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers write computer software with coding languages such as C++ or Java. Programmers navigate the back end of computer software while optimizing the front end user experience. Many companies hire part-time computer programmers to assist with special projects or cover additional work that their full time employees cannot manage.

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