Juggling part-time work with other commitments can be a balancing act that puts you off finding a role. Check out our tips to find a flexible job that works for you.

Juggling Part-time Work & Other Commitments

Want to work but can only commit to part-time? Struggling to find something with the fixed hours you need or flexible hours to work round a busy lifestyle? Whether you need part-time work to fit around studies, childcare, caring, health issues, another job or something else entirely, here are our top tips for juggling Part-time Work with your other commitments and making it work for you.

What is ‘part-time’ working?

A standard working week is usually classed as 35 hours. Part-time is when someone works fewer than these hours, but there’s no set minimum or maximum.

There are a few types of part-time work: those with ‘set’ hours or fixed shifts, those with flexible hours (e.g. minimum of 16 hours per week between the hours of 9am-5pm Mon-Fri) or those with casual hours (like zero hour contracts).

How does working part-time affect my benefits and tax?

With the rollout of universal credit occurring at different times in different parts of the country, it can be difficult to work out what benefits you are entitled to and whether it’s worth your while getting a part-time job.

You can use the benefit calculator on Gingerbread to work out what you’re entitled to claim and how different scenarios might affect what you receive – whether you’re a single parent, have a child under 5, have two or more children, or are planning to start studying for example.

If your circumstances change, such as your child turning 16 or leaving work, you can see how these changes might affect your benefits, tax credits, and universal credit entitlement.

What support is available for childcare?

If your child is aged 3 to 4 and you live in England, you may be able to get 30 hours free childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year (during school term time). You may be able to get free childcare for 52 weeks if you use fewer than 30 hours per week. You can get 30 hours free childcare at the same time as claiming Universal Credit, tax credits, childcare vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare.

Eligibility depends on if you are working, your income (and your partner’s income if you have one), your child’s age and circumstances, and your immigration status. You can find out more on gov.uk

If you have questions, you can also contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for free impartial advice on a range of legal, financial, housing and consumer issues.

What type of part-time work is available?

There are a range of different part-time work options available, depending on your reason for juggling Part-time Work and the hours you are available to work. These include:

  • School Hours – what is classed as ‘school hours’ can vary, depending on the employer. Usually it means within the hours of 8am and 4pm, but you’ll need to check the job advert in case your child’s school day is shorter, you don’t have access to before/after school clubs, or if you need to add travelling time to make sure you’re there for pick-up.

The type of jobs that offer school hours ranges from jobs in schools (like administrators, teaching assistants or midday assistants), retail or hospitality jobs, care assistant or support worker jobs, as well as other public sector (e.g. council) jobs or some driving jobs.

  • Term-time Only – this means you only work during school term dates and have school holidays off work, but again you’ll need to check with the employer as term dates can vary from primary to secondary and across GM boundaries (i.e. Stockport, Tameside, Oldham). Term-time only roles can be part-time or full-time, so again be sure to check the advert before you apply. The types of jobs available will be anything related to schools themselves but could range from office work to cleaning, call centre to hospitality.
  • Reduced Hours – this could mean working mornings only or afternoons only, or it could mean working full days but only 1 or 2 days per week for example. This might be the right option for you if you have childcare, caring, study or similar commitments, or if you already have a part-time job and need to top up your hours. Any job type could fall into this category and you may even be able to request this flexibility with your current employer, depending on business needs.
  • Earlies / Lates / Night Shifts – these are usually linked to certain industries (like manufacturing, construction, logistics or care work for example) and often involve working shift patterns (like “4 on, 4 off”). In many cases, they are close to full-time hours but give you the flexibility of working different shifts to the standard 9-5.
  • Weekends Only – if you can only work Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll likely find something in the retail or hospitality sectors, although there could be other options like cleaning or delivery driver.

What else do I need to know about working part-time?

Part-time employees have the same statutory employment rights as other employees. You do not have to work a minimum number of hours to qualify for employment rights. This means you must be treated at least as well as equivalent full-time workers, unless the reason you can’t be can be objectively justified.

An ‘equivalent’ full-time worker is one doing a similar job on the same type of contract. So you might be able to compare yourself to a colleague on the same team, or someone who does similar work to you on a different team.

If you think you might be ready to get organised and search for a role that will allow you to overcome the barriers to Juggling Part-time Work and your other responsibilities, find out how to get started with your job search.

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