What employment rights do you have as a part-time worker?
01 December 2010
In the current economic climate more people are remaining in work for longer and those wishing to retire but cannot afford to are looking towards part-time work to subsidise their pension income whilst leaving time to enjoy life.
In the current economic climate more people are remaining in work for longer and those wishing to retire but cannot afford to are looking towards part-time work to subsidise their pension income whilst leaving time to enjoy life. Part time work is a good way of balancing working life with personal commitments.
But what employment rights do you have as a part-time worker? The simple answer is that you have all the same rights as you would have if you were in full time employment and you should be treated fairly in comparison to any full time colleagues. The only defence for an employer is if they can prove there is an ‘objective justification’ for treating someone less favourably. This means that the employer has to show that the reason is necessary to the business, and is the right way to meet a genuine aim. This does not mean that part-time workers can be treated less favourably just because they are part time however.
A part-time worker is someone who works fewer hours than a full-time worker. There is nothing that determines how many hours constitutes part-time work, but a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week.
As explained part-time workers have the same statutory employment rights as any other employee. There is no minimum number of hours of employment needed to qualify for employment rights. But what does this mean? It means that as a part-time employee you have the right to:
- Be paid the same as a full time employee including being entitled to pro rata bonuses
- Receive a pro rata holiday entitlement which is comparable to any full-time workers including entitlement to bank holiday’s
- Benefit from training and not be penalised in terms of promotion simply because you work part-time
- receive the same contractual benefits as full time workers for example career breaks etc.
- Not be treated less favourably in times of redundancy
If you believe your employer has treated you less favourably than a full-time worker for whatever reason then your first course of action is to request a written statement of reasons for the treatment. You should put your request for this in writing and your employer must return the written statement to you within 21 days. If you are not satisfied that they have been able to objectively justify their decision, then you can make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal against your employer.