As the phrase goes; ‘Knowledge is power.’ Did you know that, as a part time worker, you have certain rights? Knowing these rights for part time workers and what you are entitled to as part of your role means you can make sure you are getting treated fairly in the workplace.

What Is The Definition Of Part Time Work?

There is no set amount to the number of hours you can work to be classed as working part time. A part time worker is usually someone who works less than 35 hours a week. If you work more than 35 hours per week, you are usually classed as working full time. Some employers might use slightly different figures to this.

So, even if you have a part time job where you have a contract that is only ten hours per week, for example, you would still be classed as working part time. These hours can be set shifts on particular days of the week or you could be working flexible hours, depending on your contract and the nature of your part time job.

What Are The Benefits Of Part Time Jobs?

It can be tempting to think, “Oh it’s just a part time job,” but part time workers are very important for the UK economy. In 2020 there are almost 9 million of you working part time, helping companies and organisations across all sectors to succeed. Because of the nature of their business, many employers rely on part time workers.

From your part of view as someone who works part time or is looking to work part time, there are numerous benefits. Lots of you need that option to be able to work fewer than 5 hours per week and many of you also need the option of being able to work flexible hours.

Part time work can be a perfect option for your particular lifestyle or circumstances. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits:

  • Part time jobs can give you a bit of extra income.
  • Working a few hours each week can give you a better work life balance. You still get experience of the workplace but you also get time to spend with the family or on other projects
  • If you are in a part time job where you can do shifts and flexible hours, you can fit your hours around your other commitments. Some part time jobs, for example, will allow you to swap shifts with your fellow workers so that hours can suit both parties. This is useful if you have been scheduled to work but your child is in the school play and you want to go along to watch them.
  • If you are looking to eventually get back into full time work in the future, experience of the workplace can be invaluable when you come to apply for those full time jobs. If you can land a part time job or do some volunteering, this can be a great way to fill in those blanks on your CV if you have taken time out of the workplace to start a family or care for someone. Whatever type of part time job you do, you will always develop transferable skills that can be taken into other roles. Working part time shows employers you have been proactive.
  • Working part time allows you to wear a different head. As we said, you can do part time jobs that are just a few hours a week. This can be a valuable break from raising your family and you can use it to recharge the batteries.
  • Part time jobs can give you the opportunity to meet new people. This can be making new friends or your part time job can also be a good networking opportunity where you could develop relationships and build contacts for the future.

As a part time worker, you make up 25% of the working population and therefore, you are key to the continued growth of the British economy.

Unfortunately, in the past, part time workers in some companies were treated less favourably than their full time peers. Because of this, the government made the decision to introduce new regulations in 2000. These regulations outline for employers and employees what the requirements are when it comes to part time staff.

The Part Time Wıorkers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations means part time workers now know what they are entitled to and whether they are being treated fairly by their employer..

Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations

Whatever type of role you are working in, it is always beneficial to you if you are aware of the rights for part time workers so that you know your entitlements.

If you feel you are being treated differently to your full time peers, you can then decide if it is a situation where you need to speak with your employer. For some employers, it could be a genuine mistake and they may be able to rectify your situation immediately. Whatever your situation, if you know your entitlements, you can decide how you want to proceed.

Part Time Workers’ Rights – UK Legislation For People Working Part Time

When you are looking for part time work, you will often see job adverts that mention the phrase, ‘pro rata,’ in reference to pay or holidays, for example. Where applicable, this means your entitlements are calculated on a pro rata basis.

What does ‘pro rata’ mean?

But what exactly is the meaning of pro rata? Pro rata is a calculation made where you receive your share of the whole. In relation to the workplace, that ‘whole’ is a full time role within the company. So, in the context of salary, a pro rata salary is a proportion of the full time salary.

If you are working part time, you are entitled to:

  • The same hourly rate of pay as your full time peers. Just because you are working part time hours does not mean you should be on a lower hourly rate than a full time employee with the same job title and responsibilities as you. You must be treated equally. If you are being paid an annual salary, this can be calculated on a pro rata basis. This means, if you are working three days per week, for example, and the full time employee works five days per week, you will be paid three fifths of the full time salary.
  • Identical access to company benefits. As a part time worker, you are entitled to the same company benefits as full time employees such as the company pension scheme and other packages. This is on a pro rata basis. If the employer cannot offer a particular benefit – a company car, for example – they need to state valid reasons. If you are doing job share, it could be very difficult for the employer to offer a company car. If memberships and discounts are part of the full time package then you are entitled to those as a part time worker.
  • Part time worker holiday pay entitlement. Part time worker holiday pay must be at the same rate as that of full time staff, calculated on a pro rata basis.
  • Maternity and paternity leave. As a part time worker, you are entitled to the same maternity and paternity leave as full time staff, calculated on a pro rata basis.
  • Part time worker sick pay entitlement. As a part time worker, you have identical entitlement to contractual sick pay.
  • Training and career development. Part time workers are entitled to the same training and career development as their full time peers. You should be given the opportunity to attend the same courses and in house training as staff doing the equivalent full time role.
  • Promotion opportunities. As a part time worker, when the opportunity arises for a move up the ladder, you have the right to be considered for promotion, just as your full time peers do.
  • Opportunities for career breaks. Career breaks are taken for many reasons. You might want to travel, pursue a passion or take some time out to look after your mental health. In some companies, employers actually encourage career breaks. You have the right to take a career break as a part time worker.

What To Look Out For When Working Part Time

When you are looking to work part time, knowledge is key. Whether you are just looking for a bit of casual work or you are looking to resume your career, make sure you do your up to date research on part time employee law. When you see job ads in the future, you will know if it looks to be a right fit for you.

Also make sure you do your research on the company and what exactly will be involved in your role. Not only can this help you with your application and help you to impress at interview, you will also know if the part time job is actually what you are looking for.

For some part time jobs, for example, your contract might state 15 hours per week but, in reality, you might be expected to pitch in and work more weekly hours when needed. For some of you, this could be problematic whereas for others, you might be hoping for those extra hours.

  • Knowing what you are entitled to will give you the opportunity to go through your contract and make sure you are being treated fairly. It will also state your weekly hour requirement.
  • Make sure there is a contract with your part time job. If not, why not? Your contract of employment gives you more security. It also gives the employer more security so make sure you also keep to your side of the contract. For example, if you are required to give a certain period of notice before leaving a part time job, make sure you honour that. If your contract stipulates a minimum number of hours to be worked, honour this. If you are not offered a contract, find out why and consider whether this is the job for you.
  • Consider your reasons for wanting to apply for part time jobs. An hourly rate or an annual salary that looks attractive on paper does not necessarily translate to the perfect part time job. Other factors to consider are:

Stress – if you are applying for a part time job just as a break from the home or to improve your work life balance, do you really want to apply for a stressful role?

Location – if you have multiple part time jobs, bear in mind the location of this job. Are you going to be able to get there on time? If it is going to be your only role, consider how far you are willing to commute and what the cost of that commute will be. Do you really want to spend a hefty chunk of your wage on petrol or public transport costs?

Company Culture – this is part of doing your homework. What is the culture of the company you are applying to? Do the values match those of your own? Make sure you are going to feel comfortable working there.

Part Time Worker Rights – How Much Should I Be Paid?

Whatever type of part time job you are doing, employment law states you should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, depending on your age.

You need to be 25 years old or above to qualify for the National Living Wage. 24 years and younger qualifies you for the National Minimum Wage. This is the same whether you are working part time or full time.

As from April 2020, the hourly rates you are entitled to are as follows:

  • Age 25 and over: £8.72 per hour
  • Age 21-24: £8.20 per hour
  • Age 18-20: £6.25 per hour
  • Under 18: £4.55 per hour
  • Apprenticeships: £4.15 per hour

Note for Apprentices

If you are doing an Apprenticeship, you are entitled to the minimum Apprentice wage if you are aged under 19 or if you are aged over 19 and in the first year of your Apprenticeship.

You are entitled to the National Minimum Wage if you are aged 19 or over and you have completed the first year of your Apprenticeship.

The National Living Wage, National Minimum Wage and Apprenticeship rates will increase every April.

If you are looking for a new challenge and would like to work part time, take a look at some of the part time jobs on offer on our website. You can search by location or by job category.