Benefits of Part-Time Workers

The potential in part-time working

You’re recruiting for a full time role, but you’ve had some interesting candidates apply that can only work part time. Is this something you should think about?

New statistics

The Office for National Statistics has published its latest figures on part-time employment. As of March 2018, there were more than 8.5 million people in part-time or temporary work. In fact, more than half the population now works “flexibly”. For small businesses, this can be a bit of a headache (extra staff mean extra admin) but should you embrace this part-time working revolution?

What is it? There’s no legal definition of part-time working, other than a part-time worker works fewer hours than a full-time one! Note. Part timers enjoy the same statutory rights as comparable full-time employees. The same goes for benefits - some of these will be pro rata, e.g. holidays, but others won’t, e.g. subsidised gym membership - consider the cost implications.

Bend over backwards

There are plenty of options, from working part of the week or doing weekend shifts to working only in school hours or just during term time. You need to carefully consider whether the role will suit this kind of flexibility. Think about:

  • what tasks need doing and can they all be done in the allotted time?
  • what the impact on the rest of the team will be, e.g. will things get held up when the part-time employee isn’t there? Will line managers have extra work to do?
  • do any of the tasks need to be done during certain hours?

Tip. Make sure you consider the impact of part-time workers across your business, especially any additional demands being placed on line managers.

The benefits

All this needs to be weighed up against the advantages, such as:

  • attracting parents who may not want to work full time but have valuable skills
  • increasing your ability to respond to peaks in demand, without recruiting full-time staff
  • easing pressure on full-time employees, and the costs of overtime.

Cutting costs? Employing part-time staff can save you money. This is because you don’t have to pay any employers’ National Insurance (NI) until an employee’s salary exceeds the NI earnings threshold of £162 per week, or £702 if they are paid monthly. NI is payable at 13.8% on pay above the threshold.

Example. Preet is recruiting an admin assistant. She could take on a full-time employee, but the role lends itself to a job share for two part timers. The salary for each would be £1,000 per month compared to £2,000 for a full-time employee. Preet would have to pay NI of £179 per month ((£2,000 - £702) x 13.8%) if she employed a full-time worker, but for two part timers working, say, 2.5 days each per week, her NI bill per month would be just £82 ((£1,000 - £702) x 13.8% x 2 employees).

Tip. Job sharing can cut the cost of your employers’ NI for a role that can easily be split. If you’ve got to factor in a handover period each week (when both staff are in), this will come at an hourly cost.

One more thing. Part-time roles don’t always have to be new ones. For example, they could be used to encourage valued staff to return to work after maternity leave.


There are plenty of benefits in recruiting part-time workers, including potential savings on employers’ NI and the chance to attract experienced staff who wouldn’t otherwise be available.But always consider the impact on the business and other employees too.