Part-time but not by choice – don’t be afraid to ask for more hours
Vesa-Matti encourages part-time employees to ask for more hours. “If it seems difficult, contact your shop steward. If your workplace doesn’t have one, you should get one!” Photo: Antti Leinonen
Vesa-Matti Ollila, shift manager at the HelmiSimpukka restaurant in Ii, spent nearly ten years working as a part-time employee before landing his first full-time contract. Part-time work is common in the restaurant industry.
No alternatives. Many work part-time because they have to, as no full-time positions are available. I was a part-time employee myself, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I always wanted to work more. I know some do choose to work part-time. It’s common among students or people who want to spend more time with their families.
Labour shortages. It’s a paradox that the restaurant sector suffers from a shortage of competent workers while employing many of them on a part-time basis. There’s a particular shortage of chefs, which is something we have also seen at our workplace. It seems that even though many people graduate into the field, many of them don’t stay in the restaurant industry for long. Maybe people have the wrong idea about the industry. In reality the work is very hard and the salary is nothing to brag about.
More hours. As a part-timer, I was always waiting for someone to fall ill or have some other reason preventing them from coming to work, so I could work more hours. I’ve also gotten extra hours just by asking for them. It would be fair to offer additional hours to employees according to seniority, so that the part-time employees who have been in the company the longest would be the first ones to be offered extra hours.
Part-time salary. Part-timers can make ends meet, but there’s nothing extra for luxuries. You have to really be careful with your money. Workers should also remember that pension accrues according to your hours. You may be making do now, but what about when you retire? Will your pension be enough?
Always on call. Working part-time had a big impact on my free time. If you really need the hours, you have to accept any hours you’re offered. This means pushing your free time and hobbies to the side if you get a call asking you to come in to work. You have to be always available, always on call.
Making a difference. I’m the chair of the Oulu hotel and restaurant sector branch of PAM. It’s a fun and interesting position. I get to think about these things with other people who share my values. It’s important to me that I can make a change and make a difference. I was also just elected for my industry’s Agreement Sector Commission, where I can jump into the world of collective agreements.
Tips for PAM members working part-time
1. Be proactive. You can keep checks on your right for extra hours yourself.
- TIf your workplace is planning on hiring new employees, ask your supervisor for more hours. You have the right to be given additional hours before a new employee can be hired.
- Keep an eye on the situation. If it looks like you would have been able to work the hours allocated to the new employee, contact the shop steward.
2. See that the hours you work correspond to the hours specified in your employment contract.
- PAM has agreed with the employer associations in the hotel and restaurant industry that the employer is required to periodically check how many hours an employee has completed and how many hours are specified in their contract. If the employee works more than is agreed in the contract, the contract must be amended to correspond to reality. This means that you will be guaranteed more hours in the future.
- In the security sector collective agreement, the hours in the employment contract must be updated to correspond to the number of hours completed upon the employee’s or employer’s request. The collective agreement at Alko also mentions of this. For other sectors and detailed instructions, see your collective agreement.
- Stand up for your rights. If you encounter any problems, contact the shop steward.
3. Keep a log of all planned and completed hours. If your shift changes, write down who requested the change. If you later need to investigate whether your right for more hours has been respected, your hour log will help.
4. Talk to your colleagues about extra hours. Remember that if your workplace doesn’t have a shop steward, now is the time to elect one! Click here for instructions and more information.