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Working Part-time – Commonly Asked Questions

Every individual may have different reasons for working part-time. Need for a different or better work-life balance, childcare responsibilities, or more time for personal growth – there can be a number of reasons for changing your working patterns, as an individual. Having said this, the employment law in the UK gives you the same sets of workplace rights and fair treatment as a part-time worker, like it does to your full-time colleagues. Let us take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions related to working part-time in the UK.

What is Job Sharing?

Job sharing arrangement are a specific type of working part-time, wherein two different part-time workers share the responsibility of one full-time job. The job can be divided in more than one ways to best suit the requirements of both the employers and the part-time working individuals. For example, you can opt to work mornings while your colleague decides to work in the afternoons. Alternatively, you may ask your employer to split the week between the two of you. Herein, both the individuals work for a set of three days each and have one day of the week for the hand-over period. Additionally, job sharing offers the benefit of predictable hours to you and your employer.

What Do You Mean By Term-time Working?

In term-time working, you can work part-time by getting your total work hours reduced or taking time off during school vacations. This way, working parents can deal with childcare in a much better planned way while the employers will have additional time to manage absence.

Do I Have the Same Employment Rights as My Full-time Working Colleagues?

Employment law in the UK grants the same set of statutory employment rights to both part-time and full-time workers. According to the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations, employers must treat part-timers at par with the equivalent full-time workers. Subsequently, you do not have to work any specific minimum number of hours, just to qualify for your rights as an employee. Moreover, as an ‘equivalent’ full-time worker also does a similar kind of job on the same type of contract. Thus, you may compare yourself to a peer on the same team, or another colleague who is doing similar work as you but on a different team.

Even if you have switched to part-time working in the same role or returning part-time after maternity leave, you would be able to compare your previous full-time contract with the current part-time conditions. Overall, the regulations include temporary staff like casual and agency workers, however, part-time agency workers cannot compare themselves to full-time permanent workers. Having said this, the regulations do not restrain employers to give better terms to part-time workers. Employers may do this to promote a more balanced workforce, but they will need to make sure that by doing this, they are not against any other discrimination laws.

What Rates of Pay Can I Expect Working as a Part-Timer?

The employment law entitles part-time workers for at least the same hourly pay rate as their full-time colleagues, doing a similar job. If you are a part-time employee, your employer may set the same threshold for work hours for enhanced overtime pay. Therefore, you may not get overtime pay until you have worked for more than the normal work hours of a full-time employee.

Both full-time and part-time workers must also have equal access to pension schemes. Other work benefits, like company cars, health insurance, and employee discounts, should be provided pro rata if possible. Otherwise, your employer may decide whether to offer the benefit to everybody.

Can I Request for Holidays and Bank Holidays?

All workers are entitled to have a minimum amount of annual holiday, in proportion to what full-time workers get. Often, employers give more than the statutory minimum amount of holidays. Therefore, part-timers must not be treated less favourably than full-time employees. Furthermore, you employer cannot round down the given number of days as this may appear as unfavourable treatment, however, fractions of a day may be given as hours.

Your employer does have control over when you can take your holiday. Therefore, they can make you take bank holidays (from this entitlement) in case they coincide with your working days. Where employers give additional days off for public and bank holidays, the rights of part-time workers may not be clear always. Additionally, if you are working in shifts where all full-time and part-time workers have equal probability to be scheduled to work on a bank holiday, then your employer may give a paid day off to all part-time workers.

Working part-time, you are also entitled to sick pay, adoption, maternity, and paternity leave along with pay benefits as full-time staff are. If your employer gives more than the statutory entitlement, you are also eligible to get these contractual benefits working part-time.