Content prepared by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College

Part-year Work is an arrangement in which workers work only a certain number of months per year. This type of flexible schedule is often used in situations in which workers are needed to fulfill seasonal or short-term needs.

  • A semi-retired accountant works for an accounting firm during its busy season from January through May. He takes the remainder of the year off to travel.
  • A teacher works a nine-month year.
  • An otherwise full-time professional does not work for eight weeks in the summer.


At a large hospital, phased retirement practices are great for people planning to retire. These older employees can negotiate reduced time during the week. Moreover, as long as they put in 1,000 hours per year, contributions continue to flow into their pensions in amounts pro-rated according to the number of hours they work. One 84-year-old retired operating room nurse is now employed in [the hospital's] employee wellness department, giving tuberculosis tests. Putting in a minimum of 15 hours a week, she collects her retirement, her salary, and is eligible for part-time benefits. "We have 900 retirees and 90 of them are working for us. We actively recruit them," said [a spokesperson]. Expenses? She cited statistics indicating that the cost of replacing a health care professional is equal to one-and-a-half to two times that professional's annual salary. Flexibility, she believes, is a very good deal. (34)

Benefits to EmployeeBenefits to EmployerChallenges
  • Opportunities for building needs for family and leisure into work schedules.
  • Opportunities for continuous learning.(57)
  • Maintain flexible and short-term staffing needs.
  • Attract high-level talent.
  • Retain and build on experience of older employees.(57)
  • Some seasonal workers may be stigmatized or devalued.
  • Employers may experience recruitment difficulties and skill shortages at critical times. (57)