Wednesday 3 May 2000

Part Time Workers Regulations 2000

They're out!!! The Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 have been published. They come into force on 1st July 2000, giving us the promised 8 weeks to get to grips with them.

A brief summary is as follows:

• Part-timers must not have a lower basic rate of pay than comparable full-timers, unless it can be justified on objective grounds (eg profit-related pay)

• Part-timers will be entitled to receive pay at overtime rates once they have worked the same number of hours as an ordinary full-time worker

• Part-timers will be entitled to receive the same sick pay and maternity pay rights as full-time workers (adjusted pro rata). This includes equal length of service requirements and lengths of time for which payment is received.

• Part-timers will be entitled to equal access to occupational pension schemes as full-timers, unless the difference can be justified on objective grounds

• Part-timers will be entitled to the same training opportunities as full-timers - employers should schedule training sessions so that part-timers can attend.

• Part-timers are entitled to the same annual holiday leave, parental leave and time-off for dependants as full-timers, adjusted pro rata. Career break schemes should be available to part-timers if they are available to full-timers.

• Part-timers should be treated no less favourably when being selected for redundancy, unless the different treatment can be objectively justified.

One of the changes from the draft Regulations is that the Regulations now apply to 'workers', not just employees.

An important new concept is the 'written statement' procedure. Part-timers can apply to their employers for a written statement of reasons if they believe they are being treated less favourably than a comparable full-timer. The employer must respond to the request within 21 days. This allows both parties to establish the facts, and lessens the likelihood of a claim being taken to an employment tribunal.

Attached to this document (reproduced with permission of Her Majesty's Stationery Office) are the Regulations, Press Notice, Programme of Information and a Question and Answer sheet, all produced by the DTI.

The TUC general secretary, John Monks, has stated in a press release:

"These new rights are an important milestone on the road to achieving justice
and equality for Britain's six million part time workers.

"They are a distinct improvement on the draft regulations. We are pleased to
see the government has not limited the scope of the regulations only to
employees with a contract of employment and extended it to all workers. This
is good news.

"However, while these regulations are a step forward, part time workers with
the lowest pay and worst conditions will still find it hard to find a full
time worker with whom they can compare themselves. Some jobs, like cleaning
and much catering work, are nearly all part time and the regulations will do
little to help this group."

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