All part-time workers have equal rights to their full-time counterparts with regard to:
Part-time workers are protected from "less favourable treatment" unless the employer can objectively justify that treatment for genuine business reasons.
The equality of rights is nearly always applied using the principles of pro rata when deciding, for example, how much a part-time worker should be paid. There is no qualifying period of service for equality of rights, nor an upper age limit, and all part-time workers have immediate rights.
When identifying whether you, as a part-time worker, are being treated equally, you should identify a full-time colleague to compare yourself with. The comparable worker must:
Part-time workers who believe their employer has treated them less favourably can write to the employer asking for written reasons for their treatment. The employer must respond within 21 days of the request being made. No minimum length of service is required before making this request.
In the case of dismissal, it is considered automatic unfair dismissal if a part-time worker is dismissed because, under the regulations, they:
This also applies if the employer believes or suspects the employee has done or intends to do any of the above.
If you are in dispute with your employer about your rights as a part-time worker, contact us on 0345 772 6100. You may be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal but the area is complex and you should take advice before progressing with a claim.Back to contents
There is no absolute right to work part-time or to work under a job share arrangement, unless this is provided for under your contract of employment. However, where an employer refuses your request to work part-time this may be unlawful in some circumstances.
If, for example, a woman wants to return to work on a part-time basis following maternity leave and the request is refused without objective justification, this may be seen as sex discrimination.
If you are an employee working on a fixed-term contract and a permanent employee is allowed to work part-time then there may be justification for you also being allowed to work part-time. This is because you have a right not to be treated any less favourably than a similar permanent employee.
If you feel that you have been treated unfairly, discuss this with your manager and read copies of your employer's equal opportunities policy (or any other relevant employment policies). If the matter can't be resolved informally, contact us for advice on 0345 772 6100.Back to contents