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Part Time Jobs And The Law

Recent Legislation
Part time jobs have been around forever! In 2001 studies showed that the UK has the second highest percentage of people employed in part-time work.

In Europe as a whole, on average 18% of the population works part-time, but in the UK this figure is 24% - second only to Holland. By 2004 there were 7.4 million people over 16 who had part time jobs. Although there has always been a relatively higher supply of part time jobs available, protection for these positions has not been in line with their importance.

In 2000 the 'Part time Workers Regulations' legislation was introduced - aimed at preventing part time workers from receiving less favourable treatment. New rights were established to highlight the Governments desire to establish a decent minimum standard across the board, whilst keeping the workforce flexible, and not unduly debilitating businesses. The measures introduced entitle those with part time jobs to the following:
Your Entitlements
  • The same hourly rate of pay.
  • Identical access to benefits on a pro rata basis, for example, company pension schemes.
  • Identical entitlements to holiday leave on a pro rata basis.
  • Identical entitlements to maternity and paternity leave, also on a pro rata basis.
  • Identical entitlement to contractual sick pay
Employers also need to make efforts to provide part timers with identical entitlements to other benefits received by full timers, such as company car, health insurance etc. These should also be calculated on a pro rata basis. It is not sufficient for a company to suggest that these benefits are prohibitively expensive to implement - if those with part time jobs are not offered similar packages then it is the responsibility of the company to justify the decision on objective grounds.
What Do You Need To Look Out For?
  • Research and very good background knowledge are unquestionably the most important things. Knowing exactly what you are entitled to from a part time job puts you in a very strong position.
  • Consider the whole package as well as associated benefits/disadvantage. Factors like distance to work, flexibility of hours worked and work environment can all make a huge difference. A part time job that is both enjoyable and flexible around your schedule may not pay as much as others - but because of these plus points, may be the best option.
  • Look for a contract - if you're not offered one, then why not? A contract makes your employment more legally binding and gives you much more security.
  • Be realistic in your demands and expectations from a part time job. Although the legislation should prevent any discrimination against you, in many cases part timers are not perceived as important as full timers - and understandably so.
What Kind Of Work Is This Applicable To?
Any kind of work! If you're considering getting a part time job at a pub you should also be entitled to the same treatment as full timers and fringe benefits. Your hourly wage should be in line with the National Minimum Wage. Current hourly rates are as follows:
  • National Living Wage: 25 years or more - £7.20 an hour
  • Standard Rate: 21 - 24 Year olds - £6.70 an hour
  • Development Rate: 18 - 20 Year olds - £5.30 an hour
  • 16-17 Year Rate: 16 - 17 Year olds - £3.87 an hour
  • Apprentice Rate: under 19 or in 1st year - £3.30 an hour
These rates apply to both full time and part time jobs.

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