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Part-time work - 23.12.2019 klo 09.01

Working hours to secure livelihood for part-timers

Monitoring actual hours, the priority order of offering additional work, notification of the employer’s intentions of hiring new staff and a ban on absolute agreements which oblige employees to accept work are Sirpa Leppäkangas’ suggestions to improve the livelihoods of part-time employees. Photo: Anna Autio

Part-time employees must have employment contracts which can secure their livelihoods. Sirpa Leppäkangas, PAM’s expert on working time and pay systems, explains what could be done to improve the employment of part-timers.

“The first thing is to regularly monitor the actual hours worked by part-time employees.  If the employee has worked more hours than was agreed, the working hours in the contract should be updated to reflect the actual hours,” says Sirpa Leppäkangas.

Such monitoring is already included in the collective agreements for the retail, hotel, restaurant and leisure industry sectors.

The second point is the order in which additional hours are offered. If the employer needs more workers for tasks that would be suitable for the part-time employees, the Employment Contracts Act decrees that the tasks must be offered to existing employees.

This should be further specified to include the order of priority according to which the work should be offered to the employees.

“The idea is that the additional work would first be offered to the employees who have been at the workplace the longest. This would make it easier for part-time employees to eventually move to full-time employment,” says Leppäkangas.

Leppäkangas’ third point is a proposed change to the way employers handle situations where they find themselves in need of new staff.

“The employees and their representatives should be informed of the intention to hire new employees and given the opportunity to investigate whether the work being offered could be given to existing part-time employees.”

Leppäkangas would also ban agreements which oblige employees to accept any additional work. This would make it easier for part-time employees to balance work and personal life. It could also motivate workplaces to take shift planning more seriously.