Part-time employment: what should be considered?

Part-time work means work where the regular working time is shorter than the working time of a full-time employee.

For example, with a regular working hours of 37,5 hours per week, a part-time employee can do a weekly 30-hour working time.

In principle, part-time work is agreed upon in the employment contract.

The employment contract may be changed to a part-time employment contract during the employment relationship by an agreement between the employee and the employer, at the initiative of either party.

Preconditions for unilateral part-time contract

An employer may not unilaterally change the employment contract to a part-time contract unless there are production-related and financial grounds for termination of employment.

Changing the contract to a part-time contract by productive-related and financial grounds requires that all the grounds for termination according the Employment Contracts Act and any applicable collective agreement are met. In addition, for changing the contract to part-time, there must be a proper and weighty reason according the Employment Contracts Act.

If the employer is subject to Act on Co-operation within Undertakings, the employer must arrange the co-operation negotiations required by law before deciding on part-time.

Amount of working time and salary deduction

If alteration to part-time is based on production-related and financial reasons, the employer may reduce employee’s working hours to the extent required by the decrease of work.

The employer may reduce the employee’s pay only in the same proportion as the working time.

Options for part-time work: other work or training

Before alteration to a part-time work, the employer has to find out

  • the possibilities to offer other work equivalent to employee’s profession and training
  • whether the employee can be reasonably retrained to another task that employer has available, instead of part-time contract

If no alternative can be found, the employer may change the employee’s employment to part-time by observing the notice period. In this case, the employee’s employment will continue as part-time after the notice period expires.

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