In general, part-time employment/work is defined in relation to full-time working hours: a part-time worker works fewer than the usual number of full-time working hours. The full-time working hours might be calculated, for example, on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis, or on the basis of an average period of employment.
Women are overrepresented in part-time jobs and therefore suffer disadvantages related to part-time work, such as not earning enough income to reach economic independence, having fewer career opportunities and accruing lower pensions, in particular when employed in precarious (minor) part-time jobs. However, quality part-time work can contribute to the increased labour market participation of women.
Traditions vary across countries in terms of how part-time work is viewed in general and in particular by the social partners. Part-time work may be seen as an end product mirroring traditional gender roles, with emphasis on the disadvantages of part-time work in terms of pay, promotion, pension rights, etc. On the other hand, it might be seen as an instrument to increase the labour market participation – and thus, to a certain extent at least, the economic independence – of women.
European Commission (2013). Sex-Discrimination in Relation to Part-Time and Fixed-Term Work. European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality.