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Part-time employment rate continues to outstrip full-time

The number of part-time workers is continuing to rise, far outstripping the pace of growth in the full-time employment market.

Almost 100,000 workers joined the ranks of the part-time employed over the year to last September, bringing the total up to nearly 9 million. In the same period, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, the number of full-time employees rose by 30,000 to 18.4 million.

Commentators say that the rise of part-time employment could reflect a larger restructuring trend in the labour market with big full-time losses in the public sector being met by gains in the part-time private sector.

Women appear to be at the heart of the restructure. Four out of five new jobs in the economy have been taken by women working fewer than 25 hours. Meanwhile, the public-sector cuts have hit a far greater number of women than men - in local government, for instance, 253,600 women have lost their jobs since 2010 compared to 104,700 men.

The figures also revealed that record numbers of people looking for full-time work but having to work part time. In five years to this summer, the number of such people has more than doubled, from 689,000 to 1.45 million.

Part-time workers have the right not to be treated less favourably than their full-time counterparts. If they are, employers will have to show an 'objective justification' for it, and demonstrate it in front of an employment tribunal.

Acas can give you and your organisation detailed advice on Part-time workers, and has published the Advisory booklet - Flexible working and work-life balance . Acas also runs practical training courses on related areas, including Contracts and terms and conditions, and Flexible working.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects page for more information.

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