Do part timers have fewer rights?

Many people still believe that part time workers are or can be treated less favourably when it comes to legal rights and benefits compared to full time employees.

There are false beliefs that employers have the right to limit opportunities and benefits of part time employees on the basis they work contractually less hours than full time workers. These include some of the following myths:

·         a part time employee can always be made redundant before a full-time employee:

·        employers can deny a part timer access to family friendly rights, such as the new system of shared parental leave:

·         part timers can be refused training on the grounds they don’t work full-time hours or that it’s not cost effective to train them; and

·         employers can deny part timers the opportunity to apply for other roles, including promotions, on the grounds they don’t work full-time hours and, thus, have less experience in comparison.

All the above are of course untrue and employers should be aware that part time employees are entitled to the same fair treatment as full time workers.

In relation to the issue of pay, the law makes it clear that both part-time and full-time workers should be paid the same rate of pay and failure to justify a reason for lower pay can be classed as discrimination.

To summarise part timers should enjoy the same statutory rights as comparable full-time employees and unless employers can objectively justify a difference on business grounds, they are entitled to the same pay and benefits (on a pro rata basis). Failure to treat part timers in this way could amount to discrimination and lead to a complaint to the Industrial Tribunal.

 For more information and advice speak to our employmentlaw expert Umberto Vietri.
Umberto Vietri

Employment, company & commercial
Email: 01535 613 674