Essay title: part-time and fixed-term contracts
Student registration number: 2211904 1. Introduction
The number of people who choose to use flexible employment contracts has been growing dramatically in Western countries over the last ten years (Graaf-zijl, 2012). There are various types of such contracts, for instance, temporary, fixed-term, part-time, casual and zero hour contracts and so on to name but a few. (People Managements Seminar Pack, Autumn, 2013, p. 11). This essay, however, will focus only on part-time and fixed-term contracts. The biggest difference between part-time and full-time jobs concerns the actual working hours. According to the People Managements Seminar Pack (Autumn, 2013, p. 16), part-time workers do tasks for fewer hours than the normal ones which the employer regards as full-time. Interestingly, it has been said that in one sense employers are a type of part-time worker as their duties do not qualify as full-time (ibid). On the other hand, the content of a fixed-term contract is that employees work until the end of a specified term or a particular event occurs, such as loss of capital or the completion of the job they were given (People Managements Seminar Pack, Autumn, 2013, p. 13). In this essay, the positive and negative points of both these types of contracts will be examined closely, and the reasons why employers are in favour of them will be explained.
2. Part-time Contracts (advantages) Firstly, concerning part-time contracts, there are a number of positive aspects to them. As GOV.UK (2013) explains the working time involved is less than that for full-time ones; therefore, it is possible for part-time workers to go to school, recover from illness, take care of families and do other tasks (Luke, 2009). According to the definition in the People Managements Seminar Pack (Autumn, 2013, p. 16), additionally, it is possible for part-time workers to apply a flexible pattern to their job and offer to work part-tie instead of having to face dismissal. Furthermore, part-time contracts have benefits for women. Connolly and Gregory (2007) showed that 40 % of business women (approximately 6 million people) worked as part-timers. Unsurprisingly, two out of three women have had some experience of part-time work in their career. The main reason why they tend to choose part-time contracts is that these types of contracts allow women, in particular those with young children to combine their occupation and house work (ibid).
3. Part-time Contracts (disadvantages) Despite the above mentioned advantages of part-time contracts, some drawbacks exist. First of all, although the number of part-timers has been increasing, it is said that many part- time occupations are poor quality because of low wages (Connolly and Gregory, 2007). Furthermore, people who do more than one job at the same time are not likely to acquire another one easily (ibid). Luke (2009) claims that people who work as part-timers do not tend to receive employer-based benefits, such as health insurance, sick leave and holiday with pay, compared with full-time workers. That means if they do not work, they cannot gain an income. Moreover, when work is slow in coming in, part-time workers are more likely to be dismissed before their full-time counterparts (ibid).
4. Fixed-term Contracts (advantages) As far as fixed-term contracts are concerned, one of their biggest benefits is that employers are more likely to treat people on those contracts as if they were permanent staff (GOV.UK, 2013). For example, they are able to be paid the same salary, be in equivalent positions and acquire comparable benefits packages. In addition, it is said that they are protected from prejudicial redundancy and dismissal. According to the TUC (2011), during pregnancy, fixed-term workers can take maternity leave just like permanent ones. Moreover, there are even some situations when fixed-termers are paid more than