I thought I would take on a more serious subject this week. It’s about part-time jobs, or the lack thereof. In the belt-tightening by government agencies, many part-time jobs have been eliminated. Some of these people were seasonal; others were almost regular employees because they have held on to their jobs for years, filling vital functions. In fact, some part-time employees had been on the job so long that people think they are regular full-time employees.
Many part-timers are young, others are mature adults. The young bring the enthusiasm and drive that people bring to their first job. The mature adult brings their experience and sometimes technical knowledge or second language ability.
I believe part-time employees get a raw deal in some instances. Most do not get any medical insurance or retirement, except for Social Security. There is no vacation time, of course.
When a holiday comes around, they do not get paid for that day. When they are sick, they do not collect sick pay. When their children are sick and they have to stay home, they do not get paid for that day. This makes them somewhat more reliable than regular employees who have all of these benefits.
In some cities, part-timers are considered, temporary, at-will positions. This means you can lay them off, or fire them with out any reason. While government employees are members of a union and have some kind of representation, part-time employees rarely have this benefit. This is because their small part-time wages provide little extra cash to pay for membership dues in a union.
I believe that part-time employees can and do fill a vital function in any government or business. Part-timers cover phones and counters, trim trees, provide administrative support and temporarily fill vacant jobs. They sometimes have to do dirty jobs that other people consider beneath them. They can also be require to work night hours and weekends without extra pay by shifting their work schedule around.
Then why do people take on part-time jobs? Usually it’s to supplement the family income without a full-time commitment. Sometimes it’s the only job they can get, and they hope to transition to a full time position in the future. Some part-timers attend college.
Others seek a part-time job that has little stress or worries that you take home. While most part-time jobs pay only minimum wage, a few jobs are of a technical nature and pay better. I think part-time workers and labor leaders should spend some time discussing this important issue.