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

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

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 workers 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!

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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]

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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]

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  • 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 their 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 know 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 things 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 rights. 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].

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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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Rima Pundir

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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