Quality Part-time Work

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1 flexible work arrngements Quality Part-time Work in case the study Retail SectoR project overview Part-time work is the most popular flexible work arrangement in Australia and is a major feature of retail sector employment. Yet there are often a number of tradeoffs associated with it. Moving to quality part-time work not only recognises the needs and preferences of a large proportion of the working population, but also provides an excellent attraction and retention strategy for employers. one third of the South australian WoRkfoRce WoRkS part-time Relative to other Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) countries, Australia has a much higher rate of part-time employment (24.7%), compared to the OECD average (16.2%). In 1980 part-time employment in Australia accounted for 16% of all employment. By 2011 it represented 30% of overall employment. In South Australia the trend has been more pronounced with 18% of all employment being part-time in 1980, rising to 33% of overall employment in 2011 (ABS Labour Force Australia 2011). 1 Approximately one in two women and one in five men work part-time. Quality part-time work is associated with a range of workplace benefits that increase productivity and enable workers to effectively balance work with other life roles and responsibilities. 2 South australian Retail industry Retail is the largest employing industry in Australia, with 15% of the Australian workforce employed in this industry. 3 There are currently 91,700 people directly employed in the South Australian retail sector, representing 11.3% of the state s workforce. Workers in the industry are predominantly female and have a younger than average age profile. Over half of retail employees work part-time. 4 Business sales in the retail sector are cyclic in nature, reacting to economic trends and changes in consumer spending patterns. The Global Financial Crisis has had a significant influence on this sector, with many businesses cutting costs wherever possible. 3 Other key trends in the retail industry include intensified competition, increased centralisation, the rise of larger outlets and changes in regulation (e.g. extended opening hours). 5 These challenges, along with the strength of the Australian dollar and a significant growth in online retailing, have continued for the industry and intensified in recent times. A number of businesses are suffering as a result. Why is Quality part-time WoRk important? The large number of South Australian workers who work part-time necessitates an examination of how we can make part-time work a high productivity, high satisfaction work arrangement. The growth in part-time employment is a response to both supply and demand factors in the labour market. Rising workforce participation by women, students and older workers has resulted in a greater demand for part-time work. Employers have increasingly used part-time work to obtain the flexibility needed to manage periods of high (and low) demand. Key issues for creating quality parttime work are providing training and ownership; acknowledging great work; having a consultative approach; and engendering pride amongst the workforce. Liddy Dolman, Owner, Ecolateral Sustainable Living Products, St Morris Managing the competing demands of work, family and social life is an issue that affects many South australians. By promoting a work life balance culture and environment in the workplace, employers can improve their ability to attract and retain employees, in turn enriching our health and wellbeing and building stronger communities. The South Australian Government is committed to work life balance through South Australia s Strategic Plan Target 13 Improve the quality of life for all South Australians through the maintenance of a healthy work-life balance. SafeWork SA is the lead agency for the target through the Work Life Balance Strategy. 1 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative: Literature Review, 2011, p 29 2 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative, 2011, p 3 3 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative: Literature Review, 2011, p 34 4 South Australian Labour Market Overview, DFEEST, Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative: Literature Review, 2011, p 35

2 Part-time work will be increasingly important over the next decade as the labour market tightens in response to an accelerating retirement rate. 6 Women and men usually have different reasons for wanting to work part-time and have distinct patterns of part-time employment that can also vary with different age groups. The main reason men work part-time is to study. The main reasons women work part-time are to care for children and because they prefer to do so. 7 The prevalence of part-time work in retail is overwhelming. The majority of members are part-time and casual. Peter Malinauskas, Secretary, Shop Distributive & Allied Employees Association, South Australia Branch Part-time work can be a critical means of balancing work and non-work activities at different stages of the life cycle. Quality part-time work is key to managing the following life cycle transitions: Moving from full-time study to paid work. Returning to work from maternity leave. Balancing work with raising a family. Moving from work into retirement. Assuming care giving responsibilities e.g. ageing parents or a relative with a disability. Becoming ill or acquiring a disability e.g. through a workplace accident. 8 Part-time working hours have obvious benefits for parents and carers seeking to balance their work and family commitments. Offering quality part-time roles can help attract and retain these skilled employees, and can also assist staff to combine work with study/community work or to phase into retirement. 6 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative, 2011, p 2 7 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative, 2011, p 8 8 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative, 2011, p 4 9 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative: Literature Review, 2011, p 3 DiffeRenceS BetWeen part-time and full-time WoRkeRS in australia There are a number of differences between full-time and part-time workers in Australia, including the following 9 : parity of pay: on average, Australian male part-time workers earn less per hour than full-time male workers, while females earn similar hourly rates in both part-time and full-time work. training provisions: research has found a direct association between hours worked and training provided, with fewer hours being linked to less training. Responsibilities: part-time workers are less likely to have supervisory duties; they perceive themselves as less influential in their work; they are less likely to feel that their job requires new (or even their current level of) skills; and are less likely to believe their job is difficult. Work scheduling: around 20% of part-time workers do not have a regular and fixed set of work days each week, compared to 10% of full-time workers. flexibility: part-time workers are only marginally more likely than full-time workers to have access to flexible start and finish times and almost as likely to have access to home-based work and child care provisions. career advancement and promotion: Most researchers agree that parttime workers opportunities for career advancement and promotion are poorer than those of full-time workers. Work-life balance: part-time workers rate their work, family and life balance more positively than full-time workers. myth: Part-time Work is designed For Women and StudentS. fact: the decision to work part-time can come from a combination of many factors, including household income, caring responsibilities and studies. Such factors impact on all working people. Men increasingly wish to be more directly involved in caring responsibilities and more older workers are seeking flexible graduated retirement options. to do this, workplace cultural practice needs to visibly encourage the takeup rate of flexible work arrangements, which include quality part-time work options. For the purposes of this analysis of quality part-time work, part-time employees are distinguished from casuals because they are permanent employees who usually have a set number of weekly working hours. They receive the same entitlements as full-time employees, but on a proportional (pro-rata) basis. They should be seen as full members of the team and treated in the same way as full-time employees.

3 myth: managers can t Work Part-time. fact: Quality part-time work can be available to all staff. Job share arrangements can enable full-time coverage, double the contribution and enable skilled part-time workers to work at senior levels, giving more people career opportunities. older workers reducing hours and providing mentoring is driving a rethink of the way in which work is done, from redesigning the jobs to delegating or sharing responsibilities, and enabling other workers to develop skills. What is Quality part-time WoRk? At different stages of their lives, people choose part-time work because it allows them greater flexibility in how they manage different aspects of their lives. Part-time work should be a choice that employees make, rather than something which is imposed upon them. 10 Research suggests that there are a number of features associated with quality parttime work 11. These include: Pay is equivalent to the comparable classification for full-time work. Promotion and career development opportunities are provided. Training and skill development opportunities, similar to those offered to full-time workers, are provided. Protections and entitlements equivalent to those offered to full-time workers are provided, in particular, regarding contracted hours, leave and job security. Equivalent representation in the workplace to full-time workers. Quality part-time work should involve substantial hours in a permanent position i.e. at least hours (as opposed to a small number of hours). Job content has equivalent skill demands and task autonomy as fulltime work. It is accessible for both women and men. It is accessible at all occupational levels, including senior and management roles. There is ready movement between parttime and full-time work, in either direction without having to change employers. It has equivalent (to full-time) job satisfaction levels. It meets the needs of both employers and employees regarding flexibility and enables a positive work life balance for employees. Quality part-time work is being able, to a certain degree, to work the number of hours you wish and on the days you wish. It is doing credible and interesting work, varying the jobs at work and providing them equally amongst the team. It is also coming into an environment where people get on, so you look forward to coming to work. Rudy Farrugia, Proprietor/Manager, Northgate ChemPlus Pharmacy It addresses future workforce needs (particularly an ageing workforce). 10 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative, 2011, p 6 11 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative: Literature Review, 2011, p 1

4 Quality part-time work is all about having a sense of meeting mutual needs. If you get the number of hours you want and when you want them. Where part-time work is not quality is where people have huge fluctuations in the amount of hours that they re working and the timing of those hours. Peter Malinauskas, Secretary, Shop Distributive & Allied Employees Association, South Australia Branch The more you can engage with your workforce the more you can develop a skilled and experienced workforce if you treat them well they will stay making people feel good is paramount to top rate service. Liddy Dolman, Owner, Ecolateral Sustainable Living Products, St Morris What are the BenefitS of Quality part-time WoRk in Retail? Part-time work with regular, rostered hours can support workers in balancing work and life commitments, and assist employers in recruiting and retaining the best talent. myth: Part-time WorkerS are less committed to the organisation. fact: part-time employees are equally as engaged, driven and ambitious as their full-time counterparts and will often be less stressed. part-time employees are more commonly motivated to be at work and achieve the work efficiently in the time that they have, and therefore possess strong time management and organisational skills. The retail sector also experiences periods of low or high customer demand. Employing workers in a part-time capacity can provide greater flexibility for managing these periods. Employing people on a part-time basis has a range of benefits for business. Employers have the ability to increase recruitment and retention of staff as a best practice strategy by offering family-friendly working practices, and show potential clients and customers that they value having a diverse workforce. Employers can also expand the pool of potential recruits by offering flexible employment practices. This is because quality part-time work tends to attract parents with younger children and older people, who may not want to work full-time but bring a full set of skills, experience and expertise to the job. Being recognised as an employer of choice within the retail workforce can also translate to higher sales. Workers who feel engaged and recognised for their contribution invariably provide high quality service. In the competition with the online retail experience, customers are increasingly seeking to spend their dollars where they receive specialised, highly trained service. Supporting training and good working conditions for staff means these workers deliver better customer service. Many older workers would prefer the option of part-time work as they transition to retirement, so that they still have an income stream while pursuing other interests. Providing quality part-time work to this group of workers enables them to still have a strong work connection while cutting back their hours. It also enables your business to have access to their experience and product knowledge, while possibly also providing mentoring to less experienced staff. Staff identified early on that they want control over their hours and this suits me as I want them to be happy. Some work Monday Friday, others work Thursday nights and Sundays for the penalty rates, and a mother has Fridays off to get her personal jobs done. Staff therefore have set rostered hours. We have experienced a very low staff turnover with only one person leaving in the last five years. Jon Sampson, Director/Owner, Pullmans Gifts and Cards, Elizabeth

5 What next? A key issue for South Australian employers is the lack of access to on and off-the-job training for the very large number of part-time workers. This constrains the capacity for part-time workers to improve productivity levels and limits their ability to progress in the workplace. The different reasons men and women work part-time also impact on moves towards pay equity. Women s choice to work part-time is usually driven by their caring responsibilities. This is often done to the detriment of their career and salary, whereas men s choice to work part-time to study often benefits their career in the long term. Part-time work should be part of a broader workplace culture that values work life balance and has processes in place to achieve this. This should be supported by demonstrated leadership and commitment to quality part-time work at all levels in the organisation, and consistent responses to requests for part-time work and movement between full-time and part-time work. Quality part-time work employers need to ensure that part-time workers are included in all communication, consultative forums and social activities. Wherever possible, training, information sessions and For the workforce as a whole, quality part-time (and full-time) work must be seen as inherently linked to national productivity and to the broader quality of life of Australian workers. AISR, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative: Literature Review, 2011 meetings should be scheduled at times when part-time staff can attend. Quality part-time work ensures that employee skills continue to be developed and that they have the same access to training and career development opportunities as full-time workers. 12 Quality part-time work provides workers with secure working hours. Employers and 12 Australian Institute for Social Research, Quality at Work The Quality Part Time Work Imperative, 2011, p 12 workers should be able to negotiate using a clear policy to inform all staff of changes to hours. If problems arise, they should make sure there is a transparent process for dealing with them. Quality part-time work offers employers the potential to utilise a productive workforce with work arrangements that suit the requirements of workers looking for flexible options. The legislative framework supporting work life balance includes: Fair Work Act 2009 Part 2-2: The National Employment Standards Part 2-2, Division 4: Requests for flexible working arrangements Part 2-2, Division 5: Parental Leave and related entitlements For the Fair Work Information Statement (Part 2-2, Division 12) that makes clear the rights and entitlements of all employees: For more information on the legislation and state programs that support work life balance: For more information on the legislation and state programs that support work life balance: DiSclaiMeR This publication contains information regarding occupational health and safety. It includes some of your obligations under the occupational health and safety legislation that SafeWork SA administers. To ensure you comply with your legal obligations you must refer to the appropriate Acts and Regulations. This publication may refer to legislation that has been amended or repealed. When reading this publication always refer to the latest laws.

6 SaFeWork Sa help centre (the Help Centre closes at 4.15pm on Wednesdays) To report all serious workplace injuries and incidents telephone (24-hour service). library and BookShop Ground floor, 100 Waymouth Street, Adelaide library Telephone: (08) Facsimile: (08) BookShop Telephone: (08) or (08) Facsimile: (08) Opening hours: 8.30am 5pm, Monday to Friday offices head office Level 4, 33 Richmond Road, Keswick GPO Box 465, Adelaide, SA 5001 DX 715, Adelaide ReGional offices Located at Berri, Mount Gambier, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie and Whyalla. Telephone: free interpreting SeRvice Telephone the Interpreting and Translating Centre on (08) and ask them to contact SafeWork SA. hearing and Speech assistance Contact us through the National Relay Service and ask for SafeWork SA for TTY/Voice: Speak and Listen: Government of South Australia, SEPTEMBER 2011

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