As you launch your job search, it’s best to know how many hours you’re available to work. This will depend on your lifestyle, commitments and finances. But working hours will vary across different employers. So you’ll need to know what you can offer before applying to jobs. Either way, your work will either be classed as full-time or part-time. And today we’re explaining the differences between the two!
Most people are surprised to know that there’s no set way of defining full-time or part-time employees in the UK. The term ‘full-time’ will vary from company to company. And it depends on their workplace policies. But in most cases, people working full-time tend to work upwards of 35 hours per week. However, some companies could class you as full-time if you work just 25 hours per week. It all depends on the company!
Is there a limit on how many hours you can work?
Yes, there are limits to how many hours you can work. The government has created what’s known as ‘working time regulations’. This tops employees from working more than 48 hours per week on average. But you can opt out of this if you want to work more. If you’re under 18, you’re not allowed to work more than 40 hours per week on average.
Your working rights: full-time vs part-time
Did you know part-time workers are entitled to the same benefits and rights as full-time workers? The law protects part-time workers from being treated differently because of their working hours.
This means that all workers should have access to the same rights and employee benefits. This includes holidays, bonuses, maternity/paternity leave, training, annual leave and more. It shouldn’t matter if you’re full-time or part-time.
But part-time workers will receive benefits equal to the number of hours worked. This is known as pro rata.
What does pro rata mean?
Pro rata is a way of calculating employee pay and benefits, based on the number of hours/days they work. For example, let’s say all full-time employees working 5 days per week are entitled to 28 days annual leave. A part-time employee working 3 days per week wouldn’t receive the full 28 days. They’d only be entitled to 17 days annual leave.
Pro rata can be used to calculate all benefits in proportion to the number of hours worked.
What to do if you’re being treated unfairly
Think you’re being treated unfairly as a part-timer? There are some steps you can take to protect your rights.
If you can’t resolve the issue with your manager, you may need to contact your company’s HR department directly. HR has the must ensure your employer is complying with all laws. Their job is to check that employment contracts are being upheld. If it’s clear you’re being treated unfairly because you’re part-time, HR should be able to resolve this.
If your HR department disagrees with your argument, you may have to seek external help. But don’t worry, there are plenty of free sources that can offer valuable advice and expertise:
- Trade unions – this should be your first port of call when looking for external help. There might be a trade union representative at your workplace, or contact your local office.
- Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (ACAS) – ACAS offer free advice and information on employee workplace rights.
- Local citizen’s advice – Local citizen’s advice is another source that can provide free information (and sometimes legal representation) relating to your workplace issue.
- Free representation unit (FRU) – FRU can be a great resource if you’ve escalated your case to the point of having a tribunal hearing. They can help with your case preparation.
What’s your choice?
Deciding whether to take on a full-time or part-time job is one of the first decisions you should make in finding a job. With the SonicJobs app, we have an entire section dedicated to part-time jobs near you. So if part-time suits your needs, hop onto our app to find a job to suit your schedule!