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Part-time clerical jobs have hours to suit a working parent’s schedule

In a New Jersey neurological office, the manager relies on two part-timers to keep the office current on the busy work. And the two part-timers rely on the office for job flexibility, because they are mothers who want to work but also want time to be home with their children.

When the manager came to the practice decades ago, she herself had young children at home. She knows how hard it can be, so she set the hours of the two positions to suit a working parent.

The part-timers commit to 25 hours a week but can work up to 30. They earn vacation pay and can also get insurance.

They work five or six hours a day, but the schedule is not rigid. If one of them needs to leave early one day, for example, she can make up the hours later.

That flexibility is possible because the work they do is not essential to daily operations but is mostly filing, chart assembly, attaching lab reports to charts, and pulling files. They are also available for other jobs such as making copies for record requests and stuffing envelopes for billing.

The office could have one full-time staffer doing that, the manager says, but having two people is better because they can cover for each other. It almost never happens that both are out at the same time.

The staffers can work more than 30 hours when the workload allows it. When one staffer recently asked for additional hours, the manager was able to change her job description temporarily to allow her to fill in for someone on disability.

Because of the flexibility, the positions are attractive and invariably get filled by relatives or neighbors of staff. The office has never advertised the jobs because somebody has always been there ready to take on the work.

And a side benefit is that it has developed a lot of loyalty among staff. If a new mother wants to take several months off but still come back to work, there’s a good possibility that one of the part-time positions will be open at that time.

The manager cites one staffer who did just that—years ago. She came back to work after six weeks’ maternity leave and cried all day, so she took a year’s leave of absence. She came back after the year was up, has been with the office ever since, and now is going to take over as manager next year.

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