With the results of a recent Pew Research study declaring that mothers prefer part-time work, mothers around theworld proclaimed, “Of course!” What woman juggling work, childrearing, andeverything else would not like to work a few less hours each week? However, part-time hours can cause a host of problems for the women who work them and in some instances part-time work simply does not work. The disadvantages of part-time work include:
- Part-time work = Part-time pay: Beyond the obvious math here, part-time employees doing the same job within the same industry make around $3 less per hour than their full-time counterparts according to researchers at the Economic Policy Institute.
- Benefits are cost prohibitive: Health and retirement benefits available to full-time employees are often unavailable to part-time employees. When equal benefits are purchased, an individual misses out on the discounts made available to large employers.
- Part-time does not result in less than 40 hours worked: Most employees working a part-time schedule have experienced the reality that time spent away from the office during standard business hours is not sacred to all bosses and coworkers. Crises and questions arise whether you are on vacation or home with your kids. Part-time employees who pick up that emergent phone call or checktheir work email daily will quickly findthemselves working several unbilled hours each week.
For those who are able to attain a part-time work schedule, a family friendly company is most likely to support resolutions to the time and money problems created by a part-time schedule. The more employees working any type of flexible arrangement, the more likely a corporation is to pay all employees on a common payscale. Similarly, family friendly employers may be more likely to offer prorated benefits to part-time employees passing along their corporate discount.
Finally, coworkers with similar family priorities may be less likely to call you at home, but you will need to personally define and communicate how much ork you are willing to do on your time away from the office. Do not feel bad letting oworkers know that you only work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, leaving you unavailable the remainder of the week. But then make yourself unavailable on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or your coworkers will quickly learn that “unavailable” does not mean “unreachable.”
For those who feel that part-time is simply an impossibility, the best remedy is to seek work at a family friendly company with an acceptance of scheduling flexibility. Alternatives to a part-time arrangement may include a compressed work week or nontraditional hours. Compressed work weeks for full-time employees entail maintenance of a 40 hour work week, however, the majority of those hours are worked within fewer days. For example, an employee could work four 10-hour days to maintain full-time status while gaining one extra day away from work during the week. Similarly, non-traditional work hours can aid an employee in taking back a portion of the day. By working 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, a mother can work while her childrenare in school and be home by the time they arrive home.
With the growing acceptance of flexible scheduling arrangements by corporations everywhere, the feasibility of part-time work schedules is growing as is the availability of alternative work schedules that can leave a mom feeling like she has more of her day left for herself and her family.