Although just over a quarter of the UK workforce work part-time, employers sometimes regard part-time working as inconvenient and expensive.

This research project examines whether and how employers’ perceptions of part-time working have been influenced by their experience of the flexible furlough scheme – a scheme which allows employees to work part-time and be furloughed part-time. For many employers this has effectively been an experiment in part-time working. If employers have become more amenable to part-time working, there may be implications both for greater workforce diversity – enabling wider participation in employment by those unable or unwilling to work full-time – and for economic recovery, potentially through work sharing.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and is led by Professor Clare Kelliher and Dr Charlotte Gascoigne. The research is guided by an expert Steering Group, chaired by former Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson. The Steering Group includes representatives from the Confederation of British Industry, the Chartered Management Institute, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Government Equalities Office, the Trades Union Congress, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and government departments.