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2 Employment - updated version available December '16

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1. Introduction

2. Do I need a contract of employment?

3. Do I have the right to work in the UK?

4. What is the least I should be paid?

5. How many hours can my employer make me work?

6. Does my employer have to recognise my trade union?

7. What if I've been dismissed unfairly?

8. Bringing a statutory claim for unfair dismissal

9. What if I've been made redundant?

10. Bringing a contractual claim for wrongful dismissal

11. What if I've been discriminated against?

12. What are my rights if I work part-time?

The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations prohibit part-time workers being treated less favourably than full-time workers. Part-time workers may be treated differently from full-time workers only if the employer can show they have a good reason for doing this.

These regulations apply to more people than other employment laws, such as the law on unfair dismissal, because they cover contract workers as well as employees.

How can I tell whether I am part-time?
The regulations describe a part-time worker only as someone who is not a full-time worker. It will usually be clear whether an employee works full-or part-time by comparing the hours that different people work in the same organisation.

The regulations mean that on a pro-rata basis (scaled down according to the hours they work), part-time workers must receive the same:

  • rate of pay;
  • promotion and training opportunities;
  • sick pay and maternity benefits;
  • access to company pension schemes;
  • annual holiday, health insurance, subsidised mortgages and discounts; and
  • parental leave and career-break schemes.

However, part-time workers are entitled to the same overtime rate as full-time workers only after they have worked the same number of hours as a full-time worker.

What action can I take if I have been treated unfairly?
If you are a part-time worker and you believe your employer has treated you badly, you can ask your employer for a written statement to explain why you are being treated differently from full-time workers. The employer must provide such a statement within 21 days, and this can be used later as evidence in an employment tribunal.

If you are not happy with the explanation, the next step is to make a claim to the employment tribunal. You must bring your claim within three months of when the discrimination happened.

To make your claim, you need to find a full-time worker who has a similar job to yours and compare your treatment to that worker's.  For example, a similar full-time worker should:

  • have a similar type of contract;
  • do broadly the same work; and
  • have similar qualifications, skills or experience.

At a tribunal, your employer must explain why they have treated you less favourably. The tribunal will decide what rights you have and can order your employer to pay compensation. There is no limit on the amount of compensation you may be awarded.

If you are employed under a fixed- term contract, you have the right to be treated in the same way as a permanent worker.

13. What are my rights if I'm having a baby?

14. Can I take leave as a new Father?

15. What are my rights if I'm adopting a child?

16. What other leave can I get after my child is born or adopted?

17. Can I change my working arrangements if I have children?

18. Can I take time off if I am someone's carer?

19. Further Help

20. About this leaflet







This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Ian Hunter, Head of the Employment Department, Bird & Bird, Solicitors.

The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

Leaflet Version: January 2016




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