Offering roles on a part-time basis can be a great way to increase your organisation’s diversity and inclusion, as well as bringing in people with new/different skillsets.
Jobs with less than full-time hours are likely to be particularly attractive to people with other responsibilities like carers (still more likely to be female), as well as older workers with lots of experience who are looking to work less hours before retirement. Reduced hours may also help those with health problems and/or disabilities remain in the workforce.
Where roles can be carried out on a part-time basis, employers reap the economic benefit by not paying a full-time rate. As the economy looks set to enter a difficult period, allowing staff to reduce their hours could be a win-win for everyone. Provided part-time staff are not expected or encouraged to work more hours than they are contracted for (with ‘greedy jobs’).
So, what do you need to know about employing part-time workers?
There are no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time: :
A part-time worker is someone who works fewer hours than a full-time worker. As a rule of thumb, a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week.
There is no legal right (yet) to work part-time but you must treat flexible working requests seriously:
Although job candidates cannot require a business to offer a job on a part-time basis, some politicians have called for this.
However, there is a right for existing staff to request to work flexibly, and to have this properly considered by the employer. This would include a request to reduce from full-time to part-time hours. Employers may refuse on limited business grounds but need to be aware of the risk of a discrimination claim where the request is made in the context of an employee returning from maternity leave. Having said this we know that women making this sort of request are very often treated unfairly, often quietly ‘managed’ out or treated less fairly when it comes to a promotion and/or bonus entitlement, hence the reason for organisations like Pregnant Then Screwed.
Part-time workers are, in theory, protected against discrimination:
A part-time workermust not be treated less favourably than a full-time colleague doing the same or similar job, in the same workplace and under the same type of contract. This means that part-time workers’ terms and conditions must be as favourable as their full-time colleagues, including their rates of pay, holiday entitlement, sick leave and pay, family leave and pay and all other benefit entitlements. Access to training and promotion opportunities should also be no less favourable. Although we know the reality is often different.
Part-time workers enjoy legal protection from day 1:
Part-time workers must not be treated less fairly, from the start of their employment, regardless of whether they are employed on a permanent or temporary contract.
Employers can provide pay and benefits on a pro rata basis:
Employers are permitted to provide contractual and statutory benefits to a part-time worker on a pro -rata basis i.e. in proportion to the hours they work. So, a part-timer working 20 hours in a workplace where full-timers work 40 hours should receive 50% of the full-timer’s pay. Of course, this only work for jobs that have fixed working hours, it’s more difficult for jobs that don’t, which is often the case in fast growth/scaling companies.
Don’t forget to include part-time workers when it comes to other benefits:
For example, medical / other insurance, travel loans, staff discounts, staff entertainment, gym membership, childcare provision, catering, etc. If these benefits cannot be pro-rated then they should be provided on the same basis as for full-time workers.
Part-time workers are entitled to pensions:
Part-time workers generally have the right to join your workplace pension scheme on the same terms as a full-time worker but employer contributions for part-time workers can be pro-rated to reflect their actual pay.
Round up fractional holiday days:
A part-timer is entitled to the same holidays as full-time workers, calculated on a pro-rata basis. If this calculation produces a fraction, it cannot be rounded down.
Bank holiday entitlement can be complex as it depends on the wording in the contract (whether bank holidays are an additional contractual entitlement or whether they come out of the overall holiday entitlement) and what days of the week the person works. If in doubt, take advice. See our previous blog re whether staff were entitled to an extra day off for the Platinum Jubilee.
Don’t use part-time hours as a criterion for redundancy:
You cannot select staff for redundancy solely on the basis of the number of hours they work.
How can we help you?
Ensure you have your employment contract templates reviewed regularly to ensure they’re compliant with employment laws as they change quite often. And if you need ongoing practical HR Legal Services, whether on hiring part-timers or otherwise please get in touch – we’re always happy to have a chat.