Wrong to assume part-timers are less committed

Shoppers walking around Jurong Point on Feb 18, 2019.
Shoppers walking around Jurong Point on Feb 18, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

The importance of part-time workers cannot be underestimated in our tight labour market (Part-timers should not get same benefits as full-time staff, by Mr Syed Alwi Altahir, June 17).

Over the years, I have observed an increase in the number of part-time workers being employed in retail outlets and fast-food restaurants.

There are many reasons why companies turn to hiring part-time workers, who comprise mainly students, retirees and housewives.

Some companies do so as a way to ease their economic woes, while others need them because of the rapid staff turnover that adversely impacts their business operations and services.

When such problems persist, the only solution may be to have a pool of regular part-time employees who can be deployed to meet the company's manpower needs.

It is wrong to assume that part-timers would not be as committed or efficient in their jobs as full-time employees.

There are part-time employees who have contributed to the success of their organisation, and are concerned about its well-being.

Many are loyal and dedicated to their jobs because they are made to feel they have a stake in the company's business despite working fewer hours than the full-time employees.

Also some part-time employees in established companies enjoy statutory public holiday pay and leave benefits, as well as other perks including pro-rated bonuses, meaning they are treated like permanent full-time staff.

If we look at the issue in the proper perspective, the part-time employment trend is likely to be an enduring one.

What is more important is that the employer and full-time employees have much to gain by leveraging the part-timers' experience and availability for specific job assignments as and when needed.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2019, with the headline 'Wrong to assume part-timers are less committed'. Print Edition | Subscribe