Recent statistics indicate that the number of claims brought to Employment Tribunals by part-time workers has recently seen a marked increase. In fact, there have been triple the number of claims by part-time employees in the past twelve months than in the previous year.
Whether due to an increase in the number of part-time workers, perhaps as a result of recession-induced reduced working hours, or to the less favourable treatment of part-time staff by employers, it is difficult to tell. Either way, the statistics serve as a reminder to employers that part time workers also have protection by law by way of the The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 along with the right to still bring equal pay or sex discrimination claims and can claim compensation if dismissed by an employer or subjected to less favourable treatment or detriment.
Part-time employees also still have the right to request a further change in working patterns (such as a change of hours) under the Flexible Working Provisions of the Employment Act 2002.
Where part-time workers are concerned, employment law solicitors advise employers to consider the following:
- Auditing staff benefits, procedures and policies (including pay, bonuses, commission, holidays, sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, access to pensions, enhanced redundancy payments, health insurance and staff discounts);
- Identifying any contractual terms or practices which treat part-time workers less favourably than comparable full-time workers;
- Identifying any benefits which cannot be pro-rated and either offer them in full to part-time workers or consider offering a cash alternative;
- Introduce procedures to deal with requests by part-time workers; and
- Ensuring compliance with the provisions on flexible working requests under the Employment Act 2002.
If you require advice or assistance with regards part-time workers, or indeed any employment law matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me.