briefing

The measures, which come into force on Saturday (1 July), are designed to protect Britain’s 6 million part-time workers. It applies to people such as homeworkers, agency workers and contract workers and covers pay, pensions, training and holidays.

What is the aim of the legislation?

The laws aim to establish a minimum standard of fairness for part-timers so they will no longer be treated less favourably than their full-time colleagues. They aim to protect workers without excessive bureaucracy and to help employers who are being undercut by less scrupulous competitors to follow good practice.

What do the laws propose?

The proposals stipulate that

part timers:

• Receive the same hourly rate as comparable full-timers

• Receive the same hourly overtime rate as comparable full-timers, once they have worked more than the normal full-time hours

• Are not excluded from training because they work part-time

• Have the same annual leave entitlements and maternity/parental leave on a pro-rata basis as full-time colleagues

How have they changed since consultation?

The key changes to the regulations since consultation include: the extension of the rights to cover “workers”; a wider range of full-time comparators for part timers to compare their position with, further clarification of the written statement procedure.

How do the laws work?

Part timers will only compare themselves with similarly qualified full-time workers on similar contracts working at the same firm – the regulations ensure like is compared with like. Someone who changes to part-time work will be able to compare their part-time conditions with their previous full-time contract. This also applies to someone returning part-time after a period of absence such as maternity leave, providing the absence does not last more than 12 months. Part-timers can make a request in writing to their employer for a written statement of reasons if they believe they are being treated less favourably than a part-time comparable full-timer. The employer must respond in 21 days allowing both parties to establish the facts and lessen the likelihood of claims being taken to tribunal.

web link www.dti.gov.uk/er/ptime.htm

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