01 / 10 / 2010 1.51pm
There is a growing recognition that traditional modes of working do not always deliver the flexibility required by both employers and employees. This and the increasing preference for work-life balance go some way to explain the appeal of alternative working patterns.
What is a part time worker classed as?
A part-time worker is someone who works fewer hours than a full-time worker. There is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time, but a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week.
Why might you choose to work part time?
The reasons for working part time vary for each individual. It may be that you simply want to have a different work-life balance, or you may have caring responsibilities. If you are interested in changing your working patterns you might find it useful to read about flexible working.
What rights do part time workers have?
The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 govern the rights of workers engaged on a part-time basis. The Regulations apply to all workers, not only those engaged directly by the employer on contracts of employment but also to staff engaged through employment agencies, casual workers, homeworkers and, potentially, some contractors. There is no minimum period of qualifying service for a worker to benefit from the protection afforded by the Regulations.
Employers who engage part-time employees should take care to define precisely in writing the number of hours that the person is obliged to work, the pattern of those hours and whether the employer reserves discretion to make changes to the hours, days or shifts worked, or to the total number of hours worked.
What Employment rights do part time workers have?
Part-time workers have the same statutory employment rights as any other employee. You do not have to work a minimum number of hours to qualify for employment rights.
As a part-time worker you have the right to:
- receive the same rights of pay as full-time employees
- not be excluded from training simply because you work part-time
- receive holiday entitlement pro rata to comparable full-time workers
- have any career break schemes, contractual and parental leave made available to you in the same way as for full-time workers
- not be treated less favourably when workers are selected for redundancy
Job sharing arrangements are a special type of part-time work, where a full-time job is divided between two part-time workers. The job can be divided in a number of ways to best suit everyone’s circumstances. For example, you could opt to work mornings and a colleague work in the afternoons. Alternatively, you could split the week between you, both working three set days with a hand-over period on one day of the week.
A job share offers the benefit to you and your employer of predictable hours. This gives you the chance to arrange childcare, for example, and they know there will always be cover for the job.
Term Time working
Term-time working is a type of part-time working where you can reduce your hours or take time off during school holidays. This allows parents to deal with childcare in a structured way and gives employers time to plan covering absence.
Changing your hours of work
A change in the number of hours you work can have a large impact on your work-life balance. Sometimes, the operational needs of the company you work for may make it necessary to change the number of hours that your work. Whether you work full time or part time however, any changes your employer wants to make to your employment contract must be agreed with you.