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Part-time workers

Key points

  • Part-time workers have the right not to be treated less favourably than a full time worker doing the same or similar work regarding the terms of employment (for example holiday entitlements and hourly pay rates should be pro rata).
  • Part-time workers have the right to request a written statement of reasons for any treatment which is less favourable than a comparable full time worker.
  • Part-time workers should be selected as a full time worker would be for promotion or redundancy.

Part-time work is when a worker is contracted for anything less than the basic full-time hours. There are no set number of hours that makes someone full or part-time; part-time working can be a good way of balancing work and personal commitments. There are many reasons why a worker may choose to work part-time it may be to simply improve their work-life balance or they may have caring responsibilities.

Part-time workers have the right to be treated no less favourably than comparable full-timers. This means they should:

  • receive the same rates of Pay
  • not be excluded from training simply because they work part-time
  • receive Holidays (Holidays) pro rata to comparable full-timers
  • have any career break schemes, contractual and parental leave made available to them in the same way as for full-time workers
  • not be treated less favourably when workers are selected for Redundancy.

An employer will need to objectively justify the reason why they treat part-time staff differently, and show the reason can meet a genuine business need. An example of objective justification would include a part-time worker who is denied health insurance, even though a comparable full-time worker has one, because of the disproportionate cost to the organisation of providing the benefit.

If a part-time worker thinks they are being treated less favourably they should first discuss the issue with their line manager, they can ask for a written statement from the employer explaining the reason for the less favourable treatment. This request should be in writing and the response from the employer should be given within 21 days. If the worker is not satisfied with the reason they may be able to make a claim to the employment tribunal.

If you require further information call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100 for free and impartial advice.

Types of part-time working include:

  • job-share - where a full time job is divided into two part time jobs
  • term-time work - where a worker can take time off or work reduced hours during school holidays
  • evening or weekend work
  • casual work or bank work.

Part time workers - related training

Acas run practical training courses to equip managers, supervisors and HR professionals with the necessary skills to deal with employment relations issues and to create more productive workplace environments.

Click to view related Acas training and course dates in your area for:

Acas services

If you have any questions about the information you have found on our website, or you would like to discuss an employment relations issue with an experienced adviser you can call the Acas Helpline for free and confidential advice on 0300 123 1100.

We also have helpful modules on the Acas Model Workplace, which are free to access and use. Acas can also provide advisory services (see Contracts and hours: how Acas can help) and training on Contracts and terms and conditions in this area. If your organisation would benefit from more tailored business solutions, contact us through our Customer contact form.

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