Growing interest in part-time work reflects social shift in Czechia

Interest in part-time work has spiked as a result of pandemic, bringing the Czech Republic closer into line with other EU nations.

 William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 01.12.2021 14:29 (updated on 04.12.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Republic has long been below the EU average for the number of people working part-time jobs. In this sense, the country has, like other Central and Eastern European nations, taken a traditional “all or nothing” attitude towards working life.

According to Eurostat, Only 10% of Czech women work part-time; in neighboring Austria, the proportion is 50%. Fewer Czech men work part-time than their counterparts in other EU countries, too. In the Netherlands, a whopping 36.9% of the total workforce has part-time jobs; in the Czech Republic, it is only 4.9%.

Yet all over the world, the pandemic has brought about change. The traditional eight-hour working day went out of the window for many; and while working from home brought new challenges, it also forced many people to reconsider their previous work-life balance.

The result, according to new data from SAP Services software company in Prague, has been a spike in people looking to move into part-time work. The company’s data suggests interest in part-time roles is higher than ever, with the most popular types being half or three-quarter time jobs. Such jobs are proving particularly appealing among students, elderly workers and women.

As in every other EU country, more women than men work part-time in the Czech Republic. In SAP Services, 94% of part-time employees are women. It’s thought the reason for this gender imbalance is the typically greater role played by women in caring for children or other family members in the Czech Republic.

“When setting conditions, we always try to respect the individual needs and time possibilities of the given employee. If the scope of work of the given position allows it, we try to meet their needs,” said Lenka Pospíšilová, HR Business Partner at SAP Services.

While interest in part-time positions (in the Czech Republic, 21.5 hours is officially considered a part-time contract) may be at an all-time high, how is the market for landing such a job?

According to SAP, 39% of Czech business service centers plan to increase their share of part-time work in response to growing interest from employees. Mobile operator Vodafone has even committed to providing a part-time option for every single advertised role with the company.

An increasing number of part-time roles now also require language capabilities, such as jobs in call centers requiring English, French, Polish, Romanian or other languages. As part-time work becomes more commonplace in the Czech Republic, it's clear that an increasing number of these roles will also open up to non-Czech workers.

Legislative change could also be in the works to boost part-time work. It’s thought one of the main reasons for the lack of such roles on offer in the Czech Republic has been a tax system in which employers have to pay full social insurance contributions for part-time workers, making them worse value for the company than full-time employees.

New Eurostat data meanwhile shows that the number of people in the Czech Republic with two jobs rose by 13,000 in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

The incoming administration led by Petr Fiala has already stated an interest in fixing this imbalance. If they do, the growth of part-time work in the Czech Republic could become even more rapid, bringing the country closer into line with the EU’s most advanced economies.

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