Part-Time Employees

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The Law now provides express protection for part time workers. The regulations protect conventional employees and “workers” which are a more broadly defined class. A worker becomes entitled to protection immediately they start work – there is no minimum qualifying periods for entitlement to the rights conferred by the Part-time Workers Regulations.

A part-timer is entitled to protection against:-

  • Discrimination
  • Victimisation

Discrimination is defined to mean less favourable treatment in relation to specific issues including rates of pay, entitlement to sick pay and maternity pay, access to pensions and training opportunities, holidays and family leave, together with entitlement to fringe benefits or any other form of “detriment” which includes being chosen for dismissal/promotion etc. There are complex rules for establishing how to compare the entitlement of part-time staff against their full-time colleagues to establish whether detriment has occurred.

Victimisation occurs when any Employer subjects an employee to detriment for invoking his rights or has brought a claim or assisted another worker in a claim or complaint relating to discrimination.

A worker who feels that they have been subject to discrimination or victimisation may file a complaint with the Employment Tribunal. There are strict time limits and the claim must be filed within three months of the act complained of or one month after early conclusion. The time limits can be extended in only exceptional circumstances.

Before filing a claim in the Tribunal an aggrieved employee may require their Employer to provide a written statement of reasons if they believe that they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination. Such requests for information or any replies need to be drafted with care since they are admissible in any subsequent proceedings.

If the matter proceeds to a Tribunal Hearing there are a range of remedies possible including that the Employer desist in any discriminatory practice and that the Employer pay such compensation as is fair, which will depend upon the degree of discrimination.

 

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Chris Kingham
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