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The rights of part-time workers are protected by the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 but unfortunately they do not give a helpful definition of part-time worker. The Regulations define a part-time worker as someone who “having regard to the custom and practice of the employer in relation to workers employed by the worker’s employer under the same type of contract, is not identifiable as a full-time worker”. You can probably assume that if other employees or workers work longer hours than you do, you are a part-time worker.
As is clear from the title of the Regulations, they are intended to prevent part-time workers being treated less favourably than full-time workers. This means that part-time workers have the following entitlements:-
- to be paid the same hourly rate
- to have access to an employer’s pension scheme
- to annual leave
- to maternity and paternity leave on a pro rata basis
- to be paid sick pay
- to have the same access to training as full-time workers
A part-time worker has the right not to be dismissed or made to suffer detrimental treatment if they wish to enforce their rights. If a part-time worker is dismissed for trying to exercise or enforce their rights, this would be an automatically unfair dismissal. This means that if they can show the reason for their dismissal was the fact they were exercising their rights, they do not need to prove any further about the fairness or otherwise of their dismissal.
It is open to workers to request flexible working in certain circumstances, which may mean a change from full-time to part-time work. Also, in the current economic climate it is not unusual for workers to agree with their employers to reduce the number of hours or days they work. Therefore, it is important for workers to understand what rights they have when they move to part-time work.
If you have any queries regarding Part-time working please contact our employment law solicitors Marina Vincent on 020 8422 5678.