Tuesday, 25 April 2006

More protections for part time workers

Shropshire employers are being warned they must not discriminate between full-time and part-time workers.

The warning comes from John Mehtam, who is the Employment Law Specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, Telford.

He said a landmark case in the House of Lords should prove extremely helpful to part-time employees fighting to receive equal rights to their full-time colleagues.

“The case involved a group of part-time firefighters and was the first test of the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000,” said John.

The Fire Brigades Union had argued that under the regulations, the part-time firefighters, who also had other jobs, were not being treated equally.

They were not allowed to join the pension scheme, and received less favourable sick pay and acting-up pay.

“The Court of Appeal backed the claim that both retained and full-time firefighters are employed under the same type of contract, but said those working full-time obviously carried out additional work.

“But it’s clear that their work is substantially the same and all tasks carried out by the firefighters, whether they are part-time or full-time are essential to the overall service they deliver.

“As a result of these decisions, employers will not now be able to treat part-timers differently, and many will have to reconsider the terms and conditions they offer.

“They will also be unable to dismiss part-timers’ claims just by comparing them to the additional work carried out by people working longer hours.

“Employers must beware that this ruling paves the way for far greater protection for part-time employees, and creates a real chance for them to be treated equally in the workplace.”