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Part-time workers' rights

Employees who only put in part-time hours are protected from being treated less favorably than comparable full-time workers simply due to the fact that they only put in part-time hours.

Someone who works less hours per week than someone who is employed full-time is considered to be part-time. A full-time worker is one who works at least 35 hours per week on average, however there is no set amount of hours that determines whether or not someone is considered full-time or part-time.


Workers on a part-time basis need to be treated the same way for:

pay rates (including sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay)

possibilities and advantages in the pension system

holidays

instruction as well as professional advancement

selection for promotion and transfer, as well as selection for possible layoff

opportunity to take time off from one's work


A 'pro rata' distribution of rewards is used for several programs (in proportion to hours worked). For instance, if a full-time employee receives a Christmas bonus of £1,000 and a part-time employee works half as many hours as the full-time employee, the part-time employee ought to get £500.

Overtime compensation: part-time employees may not be eligible for overtime pay until they have worked hours that are equivalent to or more than those of full-time employees.


When businesses have the ability to treat employees on a part-time basis differently

There are several circumstances in which companies are not have to treat their full-time and part-time employees in the same manner at all times. In these kinds of circumstances, the employer has a legal obligation to be able to demonstrate that there is a "objective rationale" for the action being taken.


Example

If the decision to not provide health insurance for part-time workers can be objectively defended, then a company may choose to only provide coverage to full-time workers.

It is possible that their reasoning is that the expenditures involved are disproportionately high in comparison to the advantages that part-timers are entitled to receive.

In this scenario, the employer can consider coming up with a solution, such as requesting that the part-time employee make a contribution to the additional costs.

If a worker who only works part-time has been given preferential treatment,

First things first, part-time employees should address this matter with either their employer or a representative of their trade union.

They have the legal right to ask their employer for a written explanation of the grounds for the action taken against them. The request should be made in writing, and a response should be provided by the employer within 21 days.

It is possible for a worker to file a complaint with an employment tribunal if they are of the opinion that the explanation they were provided does not provide objective justification.

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