Recruiter’s interview: Sharon Gormley, recruiter for St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH)

“You can alternate between full time and part time”
Sharon Gormley, recruiter for St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH), Ontario

WHAT PROPORTION OF YOUR EMPLOYEES IS PART TIME?

A significant proportion of our workforce works part time, but most are full time. We try to follow the provincial hiring objective, which is 70% full time and 30% part time. Nursing offers a lot of part time work.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF PART TIME WORK FOR THE INSTITUTION?

Part time work lets us respond to our needs more accurately. It enables better management. Sometimes a task that usually requires forty hours of work can be done in twenty hours. Part time lets us take account of this and therefore manage our employees better. The advantage of part time work is its flexibility.

WHAT IS THE TYPICAL PROFILE OF A PART-TIME EMPLOYEE?

We have 4500 employees. With the size of our organization, we have an enormous variety of jobs. Many of the nurses are part time and also maintenance staff, orderlies, lab technicians…   The administrative side also offers a lot of part-time work. The current shortage lets some nurses move to full time.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FULL TIME AND PART TIME?

A part-time employee’s schedule varies according to the institution’s needs: the number of working hours can fluctuate from one week to the next. The workday for employees is generally eight hours, except for the nursing sector where work periods range from four to twelve hours. Part time employees must choose their schedule then stick to it. Employees often agree between themselves and make arrangements if they want to do rotations or if something unexpected comes up.

WHAT DOES THE INSTITUTION DO TO HELP EMPLOYEES BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY LIFE?

We do our best to facilitate our employees’ working lives. They can go part time, for example, by sharing a job. This is not a problem for us, it’s just necessary to know how to explain and negotiate their professional choices. But it’s important to know that the clinic operates twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Our patients don’t leave for the weekend, so the employees have to keep up the pace. I am convinced that any employer wants to provide balance for its staff, but nonetheless it cannot compromise its activities. 

IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE A PART TIME CAREER WITH YOU?

Absolutely, this is very common. You can choose to work part time throughout your career, or you can also switch between full time and part time. It all really depends on your financial and other goals and needs. Working part time entails risks for those who incorrectly assess their needs and don’t accumulate enough hours of work. It is clear that in general we would all like to work fewer hours but you must be able to afford it.  

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