Full-time hours, part-time work: questioning the sufficiency of working hours as a measure of employment status. By: Stovell, Clare; Besamusca, Janna. Community, Work & Family. Nov2021, p1-21. 21p.

Although distinctions between full-time and part-time work are vital for understanding inequalities at work and home, consensus and critical reflection are lacking in how employment status should be defined. Full-time and part-time work are often represented as a binary split between those working under or over a specific number of hours. However, this paper, using exploratory mixed methods, evidences problems with assumptions based on working-hour thresholds and highlights the importance of workplace culture and household contexts. Using the UK Labour Force Survey we reveal ambiguities in the reporting of employment status for 12% of workers when comparing definitions based on number of working days, working hours and self-assessment. Ambiguities are particularly prevalent among working mothers with almost a third, who would be regarded as working full-time using hour-based measures, classified as ambiguous according to the measures used here. In-depth interviews with parents who self-classify as part-time workers, despite working over 35 hours a week, reveal mechanisms behind ambiguity within this group linked to organisational norms, previous working hours and divisions of household labour. The paper therefore argues workplace and household contexts are crucial to understanding employment status and recommends this should be taken into account in new multidimensional measures.