Part-time workers

Part-time workers have the right to be treated no less favourably than comparable full-time workers. This right extends to:

  • Pay
  • Contractual sick pay and maternity pay
  • Access to occupational pensions, training, promotion, parental/maternity leave, career breaks
  • Selection for redundancy

The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 cover “workers”. This means all employees plus a wider group who personally undertake work under other forms of contract (for example casual and seasonal workers and agency temps) but not the genuinely self-employed.

In broad terms, a pro rata principle should be applied to the terms and conditions of part-timers. They should not be excluded from opportunities and benefits available to full-timers or selected for redundancy simply on the basis that they are part-time.

Part-timers who feel they have been treated less favourably than comparable full-timers can ask their employers for a written statement of the reasons for the treatment. An employer must provide the statement within 21 days of the employee’s request.

Ensuring compliance

To ensure that part-time employees are treated no less favourably than their full-time equivalents, employers should check contracts of employment, policies and procedures and amend anything which puts part-timers at a disadvantage when compared to full-timers. It is particularly important to check:

  • Hourly rates of pay
  • Overtime rates
  • Contractual sick pay entitlements and rates
  • Contractual maternity rights
  • Occupational pension rules
  • Redundancy policy

If a part-time worker asks for a statement in writing explaining the reasons for allegedly less favourable treatment, you should ring the ABDO HR Service Advice Line for advice on how to respond.