What are my rights if I work part-time?
Under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations, an employer may treat part-time workers differently from full-time workers only if they can show they have a good reason for doing this. Otherwise, they are not allowed to treat part-time workers less favourably than full-time workers.
These regulations cover contract workers as well as employees.
A part-time worker is simply someone who is not a full-time worker. It will usually be clear whether you work full- or part-time by comparing the hours that different people work in your organisation.
By law, if you are a part-time worker, you must have the same terms as full-time workers on a pro-rata basis (scaled down according to the hours you work). This means you must receive the same:
- rate of pay (if you get more than the national minimum wage) including overtime;
- shift supplements;
- company cars, staff discounts and access to share options;
- annual holiday, health insurance, subsidised mortgages and discounts;
- access to company pension schemes;
- promotion and training opportunities;
- contractual sickness, maternity and redundancy benefits; and
- parental leave and career-break schemes.
However, as a part-time worker, you are entitled to the same overtime rate as full-time workers only after you have worked the same number of hours as a full-time worker.
If you are a part-time worker and you believe your employer has treated you badly, you can ask your employer for a written statement to explain why they are treating you differently from full-time workers. The employer must provide such a statement within 21 days, and you can use this later as evidence in an employment tribunal.
If you are not happy with the explanation, the next step is to make a claim to the employment tribunal. You must bring your claim within three months less one day of when the discrimination happened.
To make your claim, you need to find a full-time worker who has a similar job to yours and compare your treatment to that worker’s. For example, they should:
- have a similar type of contract; and
- do broadly the same work; and
- have similar qualifications, skills or experience.
At a tribunal, your employer must explain why they have treated you less favourably. The tribunal will decide what rights you have and can order your employer to pay compensation. There is no limit on the amount of compensation you may be awarded.
If you are employed under a fixed-term contract, you have the right to be treated in the same way as a permanent worker.
- Am I a worker?
- What are my rights as a worker?
- What are my rights as an employee?
- Do I need a written contract of employment?
- What is the least I should be paid?
- How many hours can my employer make me work?
- What should I do if I have a problem at work?
- What if my employer has a problem with me?
- What if I’ve been dismissed unfairly?
- Bringing a claim for unfair dismissal
- What if I’ve been made redundant?
- Bringing a claim for wrongful dismissal
- What if I've been discriminated against?
- What are my rights if I work part-time?
- What are my rights if I’m having a baby?
- Can I take leave as a new father?
- What are my rights if I'm adopting a child?
- Can I change my working arrangements if I have children?
- Can I change my working arrangements if I care for an adult?
- Can I take time off if I am someone's carer?
- Further help with employment law
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