Part time jobs and part time work

Sometimes you need some cash without being able to put in all the hours of a full-time job. That's where finding part time work comes in handy. It can help fund your studies or internship while still having time to enjoy being young. But before you start your search, read this guide to part time jobs help you out.

A young man is checking his phone. He is looking for part time jobs. This is a wide-angle image.

What is part time work?

Legally speaking, to fit the definition of part time work you’d have to:

  • Work less than 35 hours a week.
  • Be covered by the same employment laws as full-time work.
  • Be paid at least the minimum wage.

You can learn more about the minimum wage here and read our expert answer on Saturday work here.

What are the advantages of part time work?

If you’re studying, part time work can put money in your pocket. An added bonus is that its untaxed if you earn under £12,570 a year. Plus, there are plenty of cool part time jobs out there where you’ll be exposed to tonnes of new people, make new friends and, if you’re lucky, you could even find work that sets you on the right track for a future career. 

On the other hand, if you’re a parent, part time work might be your only option to support yourself and your family. Not to mention that, it can work in conjunction with Child Benefit to maximise your earnings. It can also help parents get out of the house and into a child-free environment.

Regardless of who you are, working part time gives you invaluable transferable skills. These include, but are not limited to, IT, money-handling and people skills. In a fast-paced job market, this can seriously help give you the edge for getting your next job.

Finally, if you’re in a position to work full-time hours, you can continue to pursue part time evening jobs that cover different areas of interest. For example, you might wanna be a web-designer by day and a DJ by night. Alternatively, part time jobs can help support graduates who take on unpaid work experience, or keep people financially afloat in less-secure industries.

What are the disadvantages of part time jobs?

Juggling different commitments is never easy and there may be awkward clashes. For instance, you may have to work late the night before an exam, or miss an important meeting if your baby’s ill. Unfortunately, there’s also still a tendency to look down on ‘part timers’, which means that managers might overlook you for promotion.

Kinda an obvious one but you won’t earn as much as you would in full time work. Not so obvious? There’s still a lack of job options – particularly in the private sector – for part time employees which can make life seriously difficult. And part time evening jobs can be even more stressful since they usually make you tired if you have day-time commitments like studying.

Now that you can access your work emails from any computer, there can be a temptation to allow your work-life 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 you’re only being paid a part-time salary.

The main takeaway from all of this is that it’s 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 reevaluate. Talk to your boss calmly and reasonably about your hours. And if nothing changes, then start looking at other options.

Share your experience of part time work on our discussion boards.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 10-Apr-2022