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Part-Time Workers – Five Fast Facts

Employers can sometimes be unsure of the rights part-time workers have which can make it difficult to tackle some common workplace matters. With this in mind, we take a look below at five fast facts to help you manage part time employees in your organisation.

1. Who is a part-time worker?

A part-time worker can generally be described as someone who works fewer hours than a full-time worker. There is no ‘set number’ of hours that makes someone a part-time worker.

2. Less favourable treatment

The Part Time Workers Regulations make it unlawful for a person who works part time to be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time colleague just because they work part time. The exception to this is where the employer can objectively justify the treatment.

3. Terms & Conditions

Part time workers are entitled to receive the same terms and conditions as a comparable full-time worker on a pro rata basis (unless this is inappropriate). This means that a part-time worker’s pay and benefits should usually be a proportion of the comparable full-time worker’s pay and benefits, calculated on the basis of the number of hours that they work.

4. Holidays

One of the areas employers can have particular difficulty with is holidays. Workers are entitled to a statutory minimum of 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. Part time workers are also entitled to this with each ‘week’ consisting of the same number of days that the part time worker works.

If holiday is to be calculated in days rather than weeks, the number of days’ holiday to which a part time worker is entitled depends on the number of days that they work. For example, where full-time employees working a five-day week are entitled to 30 days’ paid holiday a year, an employee who works three days a week will be entitled to 18 days’ paid holiday.

Employers can sometimes find bank holidays and part-time workers tricky, we touched upon this area in a Bank Holiday Legal Update, covering common issues employers might face.

5. Promotion and training

The right of part time workers not to be treated less favourably than full time workers because of their part time status extends beyond pay and benefits to other areas including promotion and training.

For example, it is unlawful to promote a full time worker instead of a part time worker on the basis of the worker’s part time status, unless this can be objectively justified.  However, it would not be unlawful if a part time worker was not promoted because they were not the best person for the role.

It’s important to ensure that you treat all part time workers fairly and in accordance with your obligations as if you do not the worker can complain to an employment tribunal about their treatment. If you have any questions regarding part time workers or a part time worker complains to you about how they have been treated, please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice on the facts of your case.


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