Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000

BRIEFING NOTE TO HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS

  1. Background
  2. Purpose of the Regulations
  3. University Obligations
  4. Action Required

1. Background

The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations came into force with effect from 1 July 2000 incorporating the EC Directive on Part-Time work. This is a secondary piece of legislation resulting from the Employment Relations Act (1999), designed to end less favourable treatment of part-time workers in order to facilitate the development of flexible working practices across the UK by increasing the availability and enhancing the quality of part-time employment.

The purpose of this briefing note is to outline the key obligations of the University as an employer under the new Regulations.

2. Purpose of the Regulations

Increasing numbers of the workforce are adopting `atypical´ working practices; there are currently 6 million part-time workers across the UK, and over one-quarter of University of Sheffield staff currently work part-time.

The purpose of the Regulations is to ensure that all part-time workers are treated no less favourably in their employment conditions than comparable full-time workers. The Regulations aim to achieve this by establishing a minimum standard of fairness for part-time workers designed to protect their entitlements against less favourable treatment in all aspects of their employment.

3. University Obligations

Under the new Regulations, part-timer workers must receive the same treatment as comparable full-time workers in all aspects of their employment including pay, conditions of service and working arrangements. As stated in the Equal Opportunities Policy, the University is committed to the equality of treatment of all staff. In accordance with this policy, University terms and conditions of employment therefore apply equally to all staff, irrespective of working commitment, which we believe ensures that the University already meets its key legal obligations under the new legislation.

The new Regulations provide a mechanism by which part-time workers who feel they have received less favourable treatment are entitled to make a written complaint to their employer. Under the Regulations, strict time limits apply to the handling of any written complaints. Therefore, should any Part-Time Worker raise an issue regarding their treatment which may be related to their working commitment, you should raise this immediately with your customary Department of Human Resources - Business Support contact.

4. Action Required

As outlined within section 3, the University already endeavours to treat all staff fairly and consistently. However, the Regulations place additional responsibilities upon the University to ensure that part-time workers do not suffer less favourable treatment in any aspect of their employment.

In accordance with the Regulations, Heads of Departments should ensure that all staff with line management responsibility are aware of the statutory requirement not to treat part-time workers less favourably. In particular, Heads of Departments should ensure that all staff involved in the management of part-timer workers continue to:

  • treat part-time workers in a fair manner ensuring transparent consistency of application of the University’s policies and procedures
  • ensure that all requests for staff to work part-time are carefully considered and advice sought from the Department of Human Resources where necessary
  • ensure that decisions regarding starting salaries, accelerated increments or promotions take account of part-time workers
  • consider the availability and scheduling of training and development opportunities and communications to enable part-time workers to participate fully

The University will continue to review its policies and practices on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the Regulations.