Rights of part time workers


What is a part-time worker or employee?

The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations provide that a part-time employee is one who is “not identifiable as a full-time worker”. A full-time employee is an employee who is treated, through custom and practice, as full-time. In other words there is no specific test. In some businesses, employees who work 30 hours and above, might be customarily regarded as full-time, whereas in another company it might be only employees who work more than, say 35 hours a week. To be considered as a part-time employee in your workplace, you have to be identified as someone who is not customarily regarded as full-time.

Do workers, as well as employees, have rights as part-timers?

The Part-time Workers Regulations applies to “workers” and so actually cover anyone who works under a contract of employment (employees), or any other contract for providing services (workers).This means that non permanent workers such as agency staff and casual workers are protected.

Is it unlawful to discriminate against part-time workers?

Yes, it is unlawful under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations. Under these regulations, workers have the statutory right, as part-timers, to be treated the same as comparable full-time workers, that is, workers on the same type of contract with the same employer. This right is not subject to any qualifying service requirements.

If it is alleged that there is different treatment then a part-time worker is entitled to receive, on request, a written statement of reasons for less favourable treatment from the employer. This statement (or absence of it) may be taken into consideration by an employment tribunal .

In comparing treatment how do I identify a comparable full-time worker?

A comparable worker is described as a full-time worker who is employed by the same employer and is employed, under the same sort of contract as you are engaged, in roughly similar work, taking into account level of skills, experience and qualifications, where this has relevance.

What other aspects of pay and conditions of employment are covered by rights for part-timers?

The Part-time Workers Regulations gives the right to part-timers to receive the same pro rata rates of pay and benefits as offered to comparable full-time workers. As well as basic pay rates, this includes: holiday entitlements, sickness, maternity, paternity and pension provisions, as well as any other contractual entitlements provided by the employer.

 Do the provisions for part-timers cover pension rights?

Yes, the right to be treated no less favourably than comparable full-time workers under the Part-Time Workers Regulations extends to pension scheme benefits.

This means that if your employer provides a company pension scheme to its full-time staff, it must also offer the scheme and the same benefits to its part-timers (on a pro rata basis).