Do the provisions for part-timers cover pension rights?

Yes, the right to be treated no less favourably than comparable full-time workers under the Part-Time Workers Regulations extends to pension scheme benefits.

This means that if your employer provides a company pension scheme to its full-time staff, it must also offer the scheme and the same benefits to its part-timers (on a pro rata basis).

There have been some big changes in pensions provision in recent years, especially the introduction of pensions auto-enrolment. By 1 February 2018, all employers must have auto-enrolled ‘eligible job-holders’ who are not already participating in a qualifying workplace pension. Unions have broadly welcomed auto-enrolment as an important step towards securing better pensions provision. However, the scheme is far from perfect and in particular, many part-time workers (mostly women) will miss out on being automatically enrolled because their earnings are not high enough to meet the eligibility threshold (£10,000) – although they can ask to join. Earnings from more than one job, where you work part-time for more than one employer, are not added together to reach the £10,000 threshold.

Part-time workers who earn less than £10,000 a year can ask to take part in auto-enrolment if they want to and, if they earn more than £5,564, their employer may be obliged to make a contribution too.

You can get advice about your pension rights as a part-time workers, including advice as to how auto-enrolment affects you, from the website of the Pensions Advisory Service.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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