Although just over a quarter of the UK workforce work part-time, employers sometimes regard part-time working as inconvenient and expensive. This research examines whether and how employers’ perceptions of part-time working have been influenced by their experience of the government’s flexible furlough scheme, which allows employees to work part-time and be part-furloughed.

At a glance

  • DatesMarch 2021 – September 2022 (18 months)
  • SponsorEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC), under the UKRI Ideas to Address Covid-19 call
  • Funded£300,000
  • PartnersThe project is guided by a Steering Group chaired by former Employment Minister Jo Swinson and including representatives from the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Trades Union Congress, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Government Equalities Office and the Chartered Management Institute.

Part-time working is often considered from the perspective of worker demand, but employer perspectives on part-time working are under-researched. Constraining factors at the employer level include the quasi-fixed costs of recruitment and training, and the costs of adapting working practices such as team communication and the coordination of work. These constraints have implications for labour market participation, social inclusion and progression for certain demographics, which in turn impact on skills development and productivity.

Employers’ approaches to work have changed during the pandemic: this research examines one kind of work flexibility – part-time working – and asks what employers have learnt as a result of the ‘enforced experiment’ of flexible furlough.

Further information

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