Part-time employees and workers have the same employment rights as full-time employees (and workers) – you do not have to work a minimum number of hours to qualify for these rights.

Legislation called the ‘prevention of less favourable treatment’ covers part-time employees and workers (including home-workers and agency workers) – and compares them to an ‘equivalent’ full-time worker, i.e. someone doing a similar job on the same type of contract.

  • Job-sharing is a form of part-time work, where a full-time job is divided between two part-time workers.
  • Homeworkers are usually described as people who do practical work from their home and are different from Teleworkers who normally do their normal office work based at their home. Both can be either employees or workers depending on their contract of employment. All workers are entitled to the minimum wage (including Homeworkers).

The legislation covers:

  • Pay and benefits, employment terms and conditions (you must receive the same normal hourly rate, and hourly overtime rate, as comparable full-time workers.  However, case law has confirmed that although part-time workers must receive the same hourly overtime rate as full-time workers they do not need to receive overtime pay until they have worked the same total number of hours as a full-time worker).
  • Pensions
  • Training and other opportunities (you cannot be excluded from training simply because you work part-time)
  • Holidays (you must have the same pro-rata entitlement as full-time workers including to bank holidays), and
  • Maternity/adoption/parental leave/paternity leave/sick pay rights (you must have the same pro-rata entitlement as full-time workers)
  • Selection for promotion, transfer or redundancy, career breaks
  • The only exceptions being if your Employer can objectively justify their different treatment of you.

If you think you have been treated less favourably than a full-time worker then you have the right to receive a written statement of reasons for the treatment – you need to ask your employer for this in writing and your employer must reply within 21 days.  If you are not satisfied with the answer then you can make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal.

If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues, or a Contractor/Freelancer/Employee with a complicated employment related problem, then talk to Lesley at The HR Kiosk  – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – our fees are low to reflect the pressures on small businesses and you can hire us for as much time as you need.

Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative or current  interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.

Photo by Eke MiedanerCC

  • Good article on which attitude you should have when searching for a job. I am very confident it won’t take you long till you have found a job which is better then then you had before.

    • Lesley Furber

      Thank you for your comment! Lesley, Workline.

  • JaroZ

    I am working 3 days a week partime for a company. The rest of the week I’m freelance. How do I stand about working the other 2 days at my freelance rate when needed for the same company?

    • Lesley Furber

      hi JaroZ, I’m not entirely sure what you mean – do you mean working for the same company doing the same job? Or a different job? (If it was the same job this could cause problems in terms of your ‘status’ and tax).  How different are the rates? Please e-mail me so I can help more.  Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Marion

    I work as a job sharer in the public sector. My full time colleagues can be paid at enhanced overtime rates if they work additional hours either at the end of their working day or working on what would normally be a rest day. For me to gain enhanced rates I would have to work a minimum of  35 hours in a week no matter how many hours my job share partner works. This effectivly means that unlike my co workers it is almost impossible for me to receive enhanced rates for additional hours. This was a change imposed by my  employer as I used to be paid at enhanced rates all be it not always at the same rate as my colleagues.

    • Lesley Furber

      hi Marion, that doesn’t sound right.  I’m going to e-mail you.  Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • guest

    hi lesley i work part time 16,5hrs a wk over 4days a week. We have recently been told we are entitled to 22 shifts holiday a yr and out of wich we have to use at least 4 of those shifts for bank holidays. If our shift does not fall on any of the six bank holidays we therefore have to use them for easter or christmas.This is not in our contracts it was given in the form of 1 letter addressed to all staff within each showroom.the whole company is closed all bank holidays and good fri easter mon christmas day boxing day and new years day. Can you tell me if the company are within there rights to do this and if our holiday entiltlement is correct? thankyou

    • Lesley Furber

      hi I’m going to e-mail you as I have some questions. Regards, Lesley, Workline

      • guest

        i cant find your e-mail lesley

  • chelsie

    I have just started working at a preschool ( private )  i’m contracted 16hrs a week. term time only ( 38 weeks a year  i think )   how much holiday pay am i entitiled to ( if any )   
    My contract also says…..    based on a full timer . that 28 days include 5 shut down days at christmas and 5 bank holidays remaining 18 !    entitlements are pro-rata for part timers…..
    But what am i entitled to as a term time only worker.  please help ?

  • Suecrooks

    hi- i started working for a cleaning contractors who are taken on by the vue cinema, when i started my agreed hrs of work were 8am to 11am mon-fri..i started in november. i had signed a start details form with hours to be worked,times and contracted days and my hrly rate. now my supervisor issaying im to start at 6am,which i cant as i have 2 children and live alone,he knew this when i started, i turned up for work as normal this morning and got sent home,he txted me 6 minutes b 4 i arrived to say dont bother, where do i stand, and i could of worked as they didnt leave till 11am. i really need some advice,i so need this job,but its unreaonable. i rang head offce on satleft a mssge, got called back this morning and am currently waiting for a lady from HR deptnto get in touch-can u help…Sue…

  • Staceydunn260787


    I’m being made redundant and don’t feel my redundancy has been handled correctly.  I have had to chase my work constantly since being told of the redundancy and its taken nearly 2 months for them to provide me with a letter stating I’m being made redundant and they told me to go online to work out my redundancy pay myself.  Me and 3 other girls were all told the office was relocating and we could take redundancy or consider going to the other office and then have to be put in a redundancy pool situation with all the staff in the other office.  3 of us said we would take redundancy then the other girl said she would travel to the other office and was given a job but not put in a redundancy pool situation.  Also I worked for the company full time for 4 years but after returning from maternity leave have been part time since November 2011 so my redundancy pay is all based on my part time wage.  One girl who has been with the company less than a year is receiving a months salary which they have decided to pay her when she is not entitled to it but they won’t offer me anything other than the statutory redundancy pay.  The manager originally said she would discuss this with the partners as it seemed unfair for me to have this based on part time wages when I have been full time up until a few months ago but she has now said they won’t do this as I have been off sick and have been paid for those days.  They are a Firm of Solicitors and seem to think they can do what they want and are above the law.  Would I I have a case against them?  Many thanks,  Stacey

  • disqus_JIYNls3ijA

    ok so if working hours full time 8am til 4.45pm
    so every one working full time gets overtime after 4.45, if i start work at 1pm should i get overtime rate after 4.45 like everyone else or am i supposed to work the same job for flat rate while eveyone else is on time and a half.
    i know that if i was to go in outside my partime working hours but, in normal working hours i get the same rate. but how is it far getting the flat rate outside factory hours while every one is getting more just because i havent done the same hours

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi, your contract should tell you at what hours you need to work to get overtime. There is nothing in law I’m afraid to say that overtime needs to be paid though. Regards, Lesley, Workline