Employers’ attitudes towards part-time work

Some 36% of companies in the Czech Republic do not offer their employees the option to work part time. One in four employers are opposed to this type of working time arrangement, stating that part-time work is disadvantageous for both the company and employees. The possibility to work part time is most often enjoyed by employees in the public sector.

A survey carried out by the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (Výzkumý ústav práce a sociálních vecí, RILSA) focused on analysing the attitudes of employers in the Czech Republic towards part-time work. The representative survey covers a sample of 1,019 companies in the private and public sectors, and is part of the national research and development project on ‘Modern society and its transformations: Family, employment, and education’ [Moderní společnost a její proměny: Rodina, zaměstnání a vzdělání], which is subsidised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí, MPSV).

Extent of part-time work

According to the survey findings, the opportunity to work part time remains rather an exception in companies in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech Statistical Office (Český statistický úřad, ČSÚ), only 5% of workers in the Czech Republic work part time. Less than two thirds of organisations active in the Czech Republic offer their employees the option to work part time. According to the employers’ responses, the option to work part time exists for all employees in about one in 10 companies. In 53.8% of companies surveyed, the option to work part time is only available to a certain group of employees, while 36.5% of companies do not offer this working time arrangement at all. Nevertheless, 61% of those companies which do not offer the option to work part time indicated that they would probably allow employees who need to look after small children or fulfil family obligations to modify their working time arrangements.

Profile of companies offering part-time work

The option to work part time in the Czech Republic is primarily found in the public sector. While 42.5% of private sector companies do not offer the possibility to work part time at all, this holds true in only 18.7% of public sector organisations. One particular characteristic of the public sector in relation to the workforce is the large share of women and of workers with a higher education.

Looking at the availability of a part-time employment option, it appears to be offered at a similar rate in private companies under Czech ownership and foreign ownership. However, the availability to opt for part-time work varies according to sector. Relatively speaking, the fewest opportunities to work part time are offered in the transport and communications sector, followed by construction and industries: some 46% of companies in transport and communications offer part-time work to at least some employees, while 49% of companies in construction and 58% of companies in industries do so. Conversely, the greatest number of part-time work options are offered by organisations in the education, school and welfare sector, with 17.4% of companies offering the possibility to work part time to all employees and 67.7% providing this option to certain groups of employees.

The survey findings also show that, when compared with larger companies, small companies with up to 50 employees are less likely to offer the option to work part time at all (see table below). In terms of regional distribution, the possibility to work part time is more easily available in big urban areas than in rural areas, which is particularly due to the concentration of public sector organisations in cities.

Distribution of part-time work, by sector and company type
This table outlines the incidence of part-time work in companies, taking into account the sector of economic activity and company size.
  Does your company/organisation offer the possibility to work part time?
Yes, to all employees Yes, but only to some Does not offer Total
No. % No. % No. % No.
Industry 34 7.9 216 50.0 182 42.1* 432
Construction 6 6.8 37 42.0 45 51.1* 88
Transportation and communications 1 1.6 27 44.3 33 54.1* 61
Services, trade, hotels, restaurants and catering 17 11.9 74 51.7 52 36.4 143
Financial intermediation and insurance 0 0.0 18 69.2 8 30.8 26
Public administration, defence, social security 4 6.7 38 63.3 18 30.0 60
Education, healthcare, welfare 34 17.4* 132 67.7* 29 14.9 195
Form of ownership              
Private company with at least 50% foreign capital participation 15 8.6 82 46.9 78 44.6* 175
Private company with mostly domestic capital or under state ownership 36 6.7 276 51.5 224 41.8* 536
Government offices, regional government offices 6 10.2 37 62.7 16 27.1 59
Public institutions and non-profit organisations 33 21.3* 98 63.2* 24 15.5 155
Size of company              
20–50 employees 32 9.4 156 46.0 151 44.5* 339
51–250 employees 37 9.5 226 57.8* 128 32.7 391
251 or more employees 30 10.5 163 57.2 92 32.3 285
Size of municipality              
Up to 1,999 inhabitants 9 13.0 31 44.9 29 42.0 69
2,000–4,999 inhabitants 12 10.8 49 44.1 50 45.0* 111
5,000–19,999 inhabitants 23 8.8 145 55.3 94 35.9 262
20,000–90,000 inhabitants 23 6.7 196 57.3 123 36.0 342
Over 90,000 inhabitants 32 13.8* 125 53.9 75 32.3 232

Note: Table cells with an asterisk (*) denote areas where statistically significantly higher rates have been identified compared with the expected rates.

Source: RILSA, Employer survey, 2000.

Reasons for implementing part-time work arrangements

Company representatives tend to confirm the hypothesis that employers in the Czech Republic are unwilling to offer part-time work, since more than two thirds of employers are convinced that this type of employment brings about at least some disadvantages for the company. On the other hand, the majority of employers surveyed believe that part-time work is advantageous for workers, with 28.8% of employers stating that it is ‘certainly advantageous’ for employees and 41.4% indicating that it is ‘rather advantageous’.

Generally, it appears that among the company representatives surveyed, one in four is absolutely against part-time work as a working time option, since they do not perceive any advantages of such a working time arrangement from the perspective of employers nor from that of employees. A further 25% of companies surveyed, however, observe benefits for both sides, and 41% of respondents believe that part-time work is more beneficial for employees than for employers.

One quarter of the employers surveyed referred to the needs of the company when implementing part-time work. About half of the companies mentioned that part-time work is usually the result of the needs of both the company and the employees.

Industry as well as public and regional administration are sectors where employers more often implement part-time work to satisfy employees’ needs – the survey findings in this respect are statistically significant. Conversely, implementing this form of employment to suit company needs occurs most often in the transport and communications sector, and the education and welfare sector.

Another criterion influencing the reasons for implementing part-time work relates to the size of the company. When compared with other companies, small companies with up to 50 employees more often implement part-time work due to company needs. About one third of companies surveyed with fewer than 50 employees indicated this reason for implementing part-time work in their establishment. On the other hand, only every fifth big company or organisation with more than 250 employees mentioned the needs of the employer as a reason for implementing part-time work arrangements.

Further information

For a European comparison of the use of part-time work in companies – including the Czech Republic – see the Foundation’s report on Part-time work in European companies, which offers an in-depth analysis in relation to the use of such working time arrangements and the outcomes for both companies and workers. The findings stem from the Foundation’s first Establishment Survey on Working Time 2004–2005.

Renata Kyzlinkova, Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA)

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