Part-time jobs

Need to keep some cash coming in as you intern? Or study for your finals? Part-time work may be the answer, but what does it involve?

two girls working in a cafe

It may be tiring, but working part-time can be a good fun.

Part-time work can be a life-saver. It can also be stressful. From a Saturday job whilst still at school and bar shifts at college, to keeping money rolling in whilst you do an internship, there are loads of combinations.

What is part-time work?

Part-time work is:

  • When you work less than 35 hours a week
  • Covered by the same employment laws as full-time work
  • Legally supposed to pay the minimum wage
  • A way of job-sharing a full-time position

What are the advantages of working part-time?

If you’re studying, part-time work can put money in your pocket, which is untaxed if you earn under £8,105 a year. You’ll meet a wider range of people and, if you’re lucky, you could find work to complement your study.

If you’re a parent, part-time work can be essential for supporting yourself and your family, and can work in conjunction with Working Family Tax Credits to maximise your earnings. It can also help parents get out of the house and into a ‘non-baby’ environment.

Working part-time gives you invaluable transferable skills, such as IT, money-handling and people skills. In a fast-paced job market, you can keep up to date with developments.

Finally, if you’re in a position to work full-time hours, you can make up combinations of part-time work that cover different areas of interest – be a web-designer by day and a DJ by night. Part-time jobs can help graduates who want to do some unpaid work experience alongside it, or keep people financially afloat in less-secure industries.

What are the disadvantages of part-time work?

Juggling different commitments is never easy and there may be awkward clashes, such as working late the night before an exam, or missing an important meeting if your baby’s ill.

There’s still a tendency to look down on ‘part timers’, and managers might overlook you for promotion. You won’t earn as much as you would in full-time work and there’s still a lack of job options – particularly in the private sector – for part-time employees. Late-night working hours can make you tired if you have day-time commitments like studying.

Now you can access your work emails from any computer, there can be a temptation to allow your part-time boundaries to blur. If you don’t lay down the law you might find that your boss expects you to be on call full-time, despite knowing that’s not the deal.

It is always important to remember your priorities. Especially if your part-time job isn’t in an area you would like to work in long-term. If your job is getting in the way of your real aspirations, maybe it’s time to talk to your boss calmly and reasonably about your hours, or even look at other options.

Picture of cafe by Shutterstock.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015