Part-time work and working time models

Part-time work and working time models

In Switzerland, many parents work part-time in order to better reconcile work and family life. Many women have never had a full-time job. In 2005, 58% of all gainfully employed women worked part-time, as opposed to just 11% of the men. However, the percentage of men in part-time jobs is rising: In 1997, 95% of all gainfully employed men with children under the age of 7 worked full-time. In 2007, this rate decreased to 91% (according to the Federal Office of Statistics). Unfortunately, many employers and teams do not encourage fathers to work part-time. It still seems to be a female prerogative.

However, the demand for part-time jobs is growing steadily, and employers have started to introduce flexible working time models. Job-sharing, for example, means that two people share equal responsibility for a job. Job-splitting means that the tasks and responsibilities for the same job are split between two people.

The traditional bourgeois family (full-time housewife and sole breadwinner) is becoming less common. It is wise for women to consider their future carefully when they are pregnant. It is not easy to return to work after staying at home for years. If you want to work part-time after your child is born, consider the following factors (important for men and women):

  • Consider how much you want to work, and consider that 70-90% jobs are easier to organise for your employer than smaller part-time jobs. Also, management positions are rarely offered below 70%. If you aim for a smaller workload, job-sharing may be an option. Do you have a colleague in a similar situation? Be open and talk about your ideas.
  • Talk to your employer as soon as possible. Tell them what you want and explain the solution you have worked out. Make it clear that part-time jobs are profitable for employers: Employees working part-time are more effective and efficient, happier in their jobs, more loyal and more willing to stay on.
  • Talk about how you intend toorganise your part-time job: Willyou be working regular days, or areyour hours flexible? Both systemshave their pros and cons, whichyou need to consider carefully.
  • Part-time work affects your social security and pension funds. Get the relevant information!

There are several flexible working time models, independent of whether you work full-time or part-time. Some are more family-friendly than others. Changing shift-work is usually difficult for families. Flextime models, annual working hours etc. provide the necessary flexibility for parents in emergencies. However, flexibility becomes a problem when it is one-sided and only demanded of the employee. A family needs a certain degree of regularity and predictable hours. The children must be picked up from day care at a certain time, school hours are regular, etc. Talk to your employer about flexible working time models, and all the consequences they entail.


Addresses and links

  • Information by the federal office for equality between women and men (Eidgenössisches Büro für Gleichstellung EBG)on part-time work and social security Sozialversicherungen: > Informationen by the EBG

  • Informationen des Eidgenössisches Büro für die Gleichstellung von Mann und Frau EBG zu Teilzeitarbeit und Sozialversicherungen:

  • Information for men who would like to work part-time:


* = Services explicitly offered also in other languages than German.

Book Recommendations

„ Der Teilzeitmann- Flexibel zwischen Beruf und Familie“

By Jürg Wiler and Claudio Zemp, Zytglogge Verlag, 2015.