Part Time Employment Rights

Many people take part-time work to supplement their existing income or to allow them greater flexibility and balance other commitments. However, working part-time does not mean that you have any fewer rights than your full-time counterparts.

Although there is no strict definition for the number of hours a person must work in order to be considered a part-time worker, there is no strict definition for full-time workers either. However, as a rule of thumb, full-time workers tend to work an average of 35 hours per week. While many people consider that part-time work simply means not working the same number of hours as a full-time worker, there are various other types of part-time work available, such as job shares and term time workers.

Job shares are an arrangement where a full-time job is divided between two part-time workers. This arrangement allows employees to work around heir other commitments, whilst looking forward to a regular income. Term time work allows employees to reduce their hours or to take time off during school holidays. This is perfect for parents with children, allowing them to sort out childcare when necessary.

Although a part-time job may involve fewer hours, that does not mean that part-time employees have fewer rights. Nowhere in the Law does it state that you have to work a set number of hours in order to qualify for full employment rights. Employment rights are there to protect an employee from being exploited by unscrupulous employers. As a part-time worker, your rights are the same as a full-time worker, including:
  • Being paid the minimum wage in accordance with government guidelines.
  • Not being looked upon less favourably when workers are selected for redundancy.
  • Having any career break schemes, contractual and parental leave made available in the same way as for full-time workers.
  • Receiving holiday entitlement pro rata to comparable full-time workers.
  • Not being excluded from training simply because you work part-time hours.
If you find yourself in a position where you feel your employee's rights are being abused, the first thing you should do is talk to your staff representative. If this is not possible, then you should approach your employer yourself. It is far better to attempt to settle a problem informally in the early stages; your employer may not be aware of how you feel and may be unaware that your rights are being infringed upon.

If your employer refuses to enter a dialogue with you or will not listen to your concerns, then you may be able to launch a claim for discrimination. In addition, if your employer makes you redundant as a direct result of your conversation, then you may be able to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal. In either case, the most prudent thing you can do is to seek the services of a lawyer who specialises in employment law. Your case may end up in front of an Employment Tribunal, who will assess the case on its own merits and ascertain whether or not your employer has behaved in accordance with the law. If he or she is found to have disregarded your employee's rights, then you may be liable for compensation.

The Work Ethic are Employment Lawyers Edinburgh. Looking for an Employment Law Solicitor?

Nick Jervis is a consultant to the Work Ethic.

Published At: Part Time Employment Rights