There are many reasons you may want to work part time. You may have been out of the workforce for a while. You may be looking at taking the first steps into a new career. You may just want a little extra money.
Part-time work can be rewarding. It can offer you the opportunity to earn extra income or gain work experience in the field of your choice. You may also learn new skills or start a career.
However, part-time work can be challenging. For example, your job may be temporary, leaving you unemployed after a few days or weeks. Or you may be on call and have to work when your employer needs you.
Before you choose to work part time, consider the following rewards and challenges.
Scheduling work hours
Working a part-time job can give you extra time for other responsibilities, interests and hobbies. But scheduling can be difficult. Your work hours may vary. You may have to work when you have other commitments. If, like some 120,000 Albertans, you hold down more than 1 job, then scheduling can be more difficult.
You have to keep your employer happy, meet your other responsibilities and still have a rewarding personal life. To do this you need good time-management skills. Keep track of your responsibilities. Use a paper calendar, a day planner or a calendar on your phone or computer. Make sure to add all of your commitments as they are scheduled.
You can also use a to-do list to keep track of some items you want to get done. Check out Time-Saving Tools for Busy Lives for more scheduling ideas.
Balancing your budget
A part-time job means part-time income, so how do you budget? The amount you earn will vary depending on the hours you work. Careful budgeting is needed. Start by finding out if your part-time job will give you the income you need:
- Figure out your fixed costs, such as rent, utilities, food, clothing and transportation.
- Your employer may not pay for benefits such as health insurance or a registered retirement savings plan. Record any of these types of payments if you need to pay them each month.
- Any money left over can be used for things like entertainment and eating out.
If part-time work does not provide the financial support you require, you may need to look for other options.
Gaining valuable work experience
Taking a part-time job can provide you with valuable experience. You may also have the chance to network with employees in your field of interest. If full-time work is not an option, a part-time job is a good way to get work experience for your chosen career path.
Part-time jobs also provide a way of exploring different career options on a slower schedule. For example, if you are interested in working in retail, you could apply to work part time as a sales associate. You will get experience in your field of interest and build networking contacts that will be valuable if you decide to move into the industry full time.
Understanding your rights as a worker
As a part-time worker in Alberta, you are covered by the same laws as full-time employees. Exceptions exist for some occupations and employers, however, so read all documents carefully. You should know your rights when it comes to:
- minimum wage
- payment for a minimum of 2 or 3 hours if you are called in to work and you make yourself available for that work
- a rest period of 30 minutes during a work shift of more than 5 hours of consecutive work
- overtime pay for more than 8 hours worked in a 24-hour period or more than 44 hours in a work week
- vacation time and vacation pay
- general holiday pay if the holiday falls on a normal work day and you have worked for the same employer for 30 work days or more in the 12 months preceding the general holiday.
If you have questions or need further information:
- review Alberta’s Employment Standards
- contact the Employment Standards Contact Centre
- 1-877-427-3731 (Toll-free)
- 780-427-3731 (Edmonton area).
Weighing the rewards and challenges of part-time work
Understanding the rewards and challenges of part-time work can help you prepare for a part-time job. It will help you know in advance whether part-time work will meet your employment needs. Only you can decide if part-time employment is right for you.