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Part Time Working

Rights of part time workers

Part time workers work fewer hours per week compared to their full-time colleagues. Workers may work part time for a number of reasons to cover their childcare or caring responsibilities, to work on other projects or hobbies, or simply because they want to.

Part Time Working

Pursuant to the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, part time workers have the right not be treated less favourably compared to their full time colleagues.  Workers can challenge any less favourable or unfair treatment if it was on the grounds of their part-time status, including in relation to rates of pay, access to training and development opportunities, holiday entitlement (on a pro rata basis), benefit or schemes, and redundancy terms.

An exception will only arise where such different or unfavourable treatment can be objectively justified. The organisation would have to show that the difference in treatment was on the basis of meeting a genuine business need, such as the disproportionate cost of providing a benefit or a significant change in the structure of the business.

If a worker thinks that they are being treated less favourably, they may be entitled to a written explanation for this treatment, with such explanation to be provided within 21 days.

In some circumstances, less favourable may give rise to claims for indirect sex discrimination under the Equality Act.  For example if an employer only considers fulltime employees for promotion,  leading to a particular disadvantage to its part time work workforce, who are predominantly female. Please refer to our section on Sex Discrimination for more information.

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