Full-time and part-time work

There are a number of benefits to being in work. Not only will you have more money in your pocket, working is also good for your health.

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For a list of job searching sites, check out our useful links section

It can be difficult to know where to start if you have been out of work for a long time, or if you are looking to change the direction your career is heading. The National Careers service are experts in career guidance and will be happy to talk through your options with you.

If you aren’t sure which direction you want your career to go, you can contact your local RP and ask if you can speak to an Employment & Skills advisor about making a plan to get back into work. Even if they don’t have one in the office, they will know how to arrange an appointment for you.

If you are on benefits, and are looking to find employment, it is very important that you know how many hours you need to work to be better off than you are in your current situation.

You can find out how much wealthier you would be in work using a ‘better off’ or benefits calculator here.

This is especially important when you are considering part-time work.

You may also be entitled to working tax credit. You can find out more about Working Tax Credit here and whether you would be entitled here.

For more information on in-work benefits, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

Make sure you let JobCentre Plus know that you are starting work – you can find some useful numbers here.


Full-time work

If you are unemployed, going into full-time work can be tiring for the first few weeks. Early starts, long days (or nights) and set breaks may be a big change from your normal routine (see our job-searching section for tips on how to reduce this impact).

Your body will get used to the new routine but it is important that you take care of your physical and mental well-being during this time. Visit the Change4Life website for hints and tips on staying healthy. Visit Change4Life  and try Mind’s website if you are feeling stressed or blue.

Prepare yourself for starting full-time work whilst you are looking for it. It is not uncommon to be offered a job on a Friday and start on Monday and you will be amazed how little time you have once you start in your new job.

Even if you are working full-time, you may be entitled to some in-work benefits if you are on a low wage. Take the time to check.

The maximum number of working hours (usually) is 48 hours a week but do check your contract as there are some exceptions

Don’t be tempted to snack on shop-bought food every day. You will quickly see your newly earned money vanish if you are buying lunch every day. Take time to make a sandwich and pack a healthy lunch the night or morning before work and your wallet will reap the benefits.

*top tips* don’t assume that your new employer is happy for you to use your mobile phone at work. Many employers do not allow the use of mobile phones when you are not on a break.

Congratulate yourself! Work is demanding. Long hours and competing commitments in your personal life can often leave you feeling exhausted. Make sure you give yourself a little treat at the end of your week.

Part-time work

There are lots of reasons why someone might choose to work part-time. Some reasons for working part-time include:

  • Being at school / college / university.
  • You have caring responsibilities.
  • Health reasons.
  • You have been out of work for a long time and would like to get back into ‘the swing of things’.
  • You are supplementing an income (like a pension).

If you are considering part-time work as a way to get back into employment, but you would much prefer full-time work; you may wish to consider other options such as volunteering, work placements or an apprenticeship.

Of course, if you will be better off with a part-time job then it is fantastic option while you explore your options, but you should never take part-time work if you cannot live comfortably on the part-time wage. Even if there is hope that there will be overtime or the possibility of full-time hours.

Part-time work can mean different things to different employers. If you are not sure about what an employer means in a job advert, give them a call before you apply – it saves you and the employer time and gives you a chance to introduce yourself.

Part time hours can be advertised in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Part-time can be shortened to P/T.
  • Part-time can be referred to as ‘Job Share’ (meaning more than one person does the same job but they work on different days).
  • Pro-rata – this phrase means ‘proportionally to’. So a salary might be £20,000 a year but if the job is only 2.5 days a week (half a working week), the salary ‘pro rata’ would be £10,000.

Part-time work can be a big change to your routine. Make sure you look after yourself and if you need advice on health and wellbeing, use the links above for Mind and Change4Life.

Check out Trevor’s story about his steps to finding work…

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