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Increase In Part Time Jobs Presenting Challenges

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
April 29, 2009

With more workers reduced to working part-time jobs, families are being forced to contend with reduced income, benefits and self-esteem.

Kansas' The Wichita Eagle [from an article originally located at http://www.kansas.com/104/story/790538.html] notes that about 2 million more workers are employed in part-time jobs than a year ago, and as a result, pay and benefits for many have been significantly reduced or eliminated entirely. Part-time jobs rarely provide health insurance, paid vacations or pension plans. Moreover, 1 in 4 working women age 25 and older work part-time-more than double the part-time work rate for men.

Camille Burditt is one such example. She works part-time, fully supporting her family without employee benefits. Her husband, Charles, was laid off in August from a sales position he held for 20 years.

"We watch every expense," he said. "Our COBRA coverage ends this month, and our health insurance will jump from $270 to about $800. We've cut back on just about everything."

Since men often view themselves as the family breadwinners, the current trend is emotionally distressing as well. "Men still think of themselves as providers," explained Leigh Branham, founder of a consulting service that helps organizations retain staffs. "Their identities are so tied up in their jobs, that when they lose their jobs many question, 'Who am I?'"

CBS 5 News in California reports that while the unemployment rate is 8.9 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the figure does not take into account part-time workers or those who have given up searching for jobs. The true figure, according to Gladys Stone, an executive recruiter and coach in San Francisco, is closer to 15 percent.

In a related story, Maryland's The Gazette reports that many business groups are opposing a new law which expands unemployment benefits to part-time workers. The measure allows individuals to seek part-time work in order to qualify for benefits, while previously, they were required to actively search for full-time work.

While legislators supported the law as a way to adapt to the growing part-time workforce in the state, many small businesses oppose the measure, since rates for unemployment insurance will very likely increase as a result.

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