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In the UK, part-time workers have a number of legal protections to make sure they are treated fairly and not less favourably than comparable full-time workers:

  • The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 is the key piece of legislation concerning the rights of part-time workers in the UK. Its main objective is to ensure that part-time workers are not treated less favourably than their full-time counterparts unless such treatment can be objectively justified.
  • Part-time workers should receive the same rates of pay as comparable full-time workers (calculated on a pro rata basis). Part-time workers should also have the same opportunities for career progression and training as their full-time counterparts.
  • If a part-time worker believes they are being treated less favourably than a comparable full-time worker, they can ask their employer for a written statement of reasons. A response should be provided within 21 days.
  • Part-time employees can bring an employment tribunal claim alleging less favourable treatment when compared to full-time employees. Employers can defend claims if they can show that the treatment was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Tribunals are able to award compensation in these cases which can include loss of earnings but not injury to feelings.
  • More women are part-time workers than men. This is a fact which tribunals take judicial notice of – there is generally no requirement to produce statistical evidence. It is therefore possible for part-time female employees to bring any claim for less favourable treatment as an indirect sex discrimination claim rather than one under the part-time workers legislation. This allows female part-time workers to claim injury to feelings as a head of compensation (something which is not available in part-time workers claims themselves). 

Find out how we can help.  Our partner, Jon Dunkley, heads the Wollens specialist Employment Department.  Contact him today for an informal chat, without obligation on 01271 342268 or via email at [email protected].