Since 1995, part-time employees have had the same employment protection rights as full-timers.
These rights were strengthened in 2000 with the Part-time Workers Regulations which provide that you must not treat any part-time workers less favourably than comparable full-time workers in respect of:
- The terms of their contract including pay, holiday, and all benefits
- Being subjected to any other detriment by any act or deliberate failure to act
However, this right only applies if the detrimental treatment is on the grounds of your employee being a part-time worker, and in some cases, you may be able to provide objective justification for the differential treatment. This legislation applies to all employers, regardless of the size of the business.
Part-time employees are frequently female. Depending on the facts of any particular case, it is therefore possible that there will be indirect sex discrimination if your part-time employee is female and the terms and conditions of her employment are materially worse than those of full-time employees who are mostly male. She may also have a claim for equal pay if her rate of pay is lower than that of her male full-time equivalents.
Length of service is not a factor if your employee has a claim against you under the Part-time Workers Regulations.
If you would like more information about the rights of part-time workers, Ashby Cohen can help you. We specialise in employment law cases, and our years of experience as employment lawyers make us uniquely qualified to assist you with any part-time working issues you may have. Please contact us for an initial free telephone consultation.
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