Employing part-time workers

Recruiting and managing part-time workers


If you decide to employ part-time workers, you should ensure that:

  • the roles suit part-time working arrangements
  • your recruitment process is convenient for potential candidates
  • you can effectively communicate with and manage part-time workers

Designing part-time jobs

When designing a job for a part-time worker, you first need to specify what you want the jobholder to achieve.

Think carefully about the tasks that they need to do to achieve these objectives. These will determine how much flexibility there is around the hours the jobholder must work.

When determining working hours, consider:

  • how much time is needed to do each task
  • whether the tasks require someone to work at a specific time or can be done at any time
  • how the jobholder will fit into the existing structure of your business

It is important to consider the skills and personal attributes needed to perform the role effectively and specify these in the person specification.

Do not include any requirements that are not necessary to succeed in the post and that might exclude some candidates.

Recruiting for part-time jobs

When advertising for jobs, make it clear whether the job is either purely part-time or part of a job-share - see introducing job-sharing.

Think creatively about how to reach experienced workers who may be looking for part-time work, eg parents with young children, carers and older people.

Try to arrange interviews and other stages of the recruitment process at times that are convenient for those applying for the job, eg if the job is for part-time evening work, hold interviews during the evening.

Managing part-time workers

Make sure that:

  • your part-time workers receive all staff communications
  • you inform them of all major decisions affecting their jobs

This may require you to contact - by phone, email or text message - those part-time workers who are not in the workplace when you send out messages for the first time.

You could consider setting core hours during the week when all staff will be present. This is a time when you can hold meetings and make or communicate important decisions.

If there isn't a time when all workers are in the workplace, vary the times of key meetings so everyone can attend at least some of the time. Ensure that the outcomes of meetings are shared with workers who were not there.

To help you manage your part-time workers more easily, try to find out if they:

  • have any flexibility to work additional hours on major projects or to attend meetings outside their scheduled hours
  • are happy for you to contact them outside of their normal working hours

Make sure that any part-time staff have opportunities to attend training courses offered to full-time staff.

This might mean you have to offer training courses that can be delivered more flexibly. For example, a course could:

  • have an element of home study time
  • be condensed into two days instead of three
  • be made up of short units that the worker can complete whenever they are at work

External help for introducing part-time working

There are a number of organisations that can advise you on introducing part-time employment in your business.

The Labour Relations Agency (LRA) provides free advice and guidance on the employment rights of part-time workers.

The Jobs & Benefits Office can help you fill both part-time and full-time vacancies. Support varies from recruitment planning right through to practical vacancy filling, including matching and sorting of application forms.

In many regions there are specialist organisations that can help employers to implement flexible working - including part-time working - and to recruit suitable candidates.

For more information on the provision in your area, you should contact your local Enterprise Agency.

You could also try picking up tips from other employers that have already employed part-time workers successfully.