Is part-time work a dirty word?

Is part-time work a dirty word? Does working part-time signal lesser commitment to a career? Women on Boards thinks it does, and wants us to use new language.

Is part-time work something you associate with people on a career slow-track, or lesser commitment to work?

Claire Braund, Executive Director of Women on Boards, thinks that's what part-time means for many people and want us all to use new language for those who don't clock on for a forty-hour week.

Braund doesn't want us to talk about 'part-timers'. She feels it is better to talk about people 'working flexibly at X per cent'.

Why does Braund want the change?

"This would start to change the perception that part-time workers are somehow less serious about their work and career and just there to do the job and go home," she said in a press release issued today.

"The reality is often very different with many employers knowing that so-called part-time workers are efficient, focused and often doing four days work and being paid for three."

New language could also, she feels, address gender gaps in the workplace.

“Unfortunately women are the most marginalised by this form of employment as they constitute 70.4% of all part-time employees in the Australian workforce," Braund said.

And she even thinks that it may make sense to rate people beyond 100% of a full time job: the release says that "using the term 'working flexibly at X per cent' for everyone - whether they be working at 150, 100 or 50 per cent - would help with the cultural transition to more flexible workplaces that integrated with the lives of their male and female employees."

The issue of part-time work and how it is described is one of many to be discussed at the Think Women workshop and lunch series.

What do you think about the issues Braund raises? Let us know in the Disqus comments field below.

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