I think I am being penalised because I work part-time. What can I do?

As a part-time worker, you have the right under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 to be treated no less favourably than a comparable full-time worker where you work, unless there is a reason for the difference in treatment that can be objectively justified.

A part-time worker is someone who works fewer hours than a full-time worker at your workplace. Someone with a zero hours contract would be a part-time worker. However, there must be a full-time worker where you work to compare yourself to.

If you believe your employer is treating you less favourably because you are a part-time worker, you should bring a formal grievance against your employer.

If you are a woman and your employer is treating you less favourably because of your part-time status, you may find that as well as being a breach of the specific laws protecting part-time workers, your employer's behaviour also amounts to indirect sex discrimination. This is because the majority of part-time workers are female.

Also remember that all employees with 26 weeks’ service can make a request to work flexibly. Browse our section on Flexible Working to find out more.

Time limits for an employment tribunal claim are very strict. The first step before bringing any tribunal claim is to submit an Acas Early Conciliation Form. This step is compulsory. You will not be able to bring your tribunal claim without it.

For information about bringing a tribunal claim, including information about Acas early conciliation and bringing your claim, see our Enforcing your Rights section.

Often – for example, where your employer has a pattern of treating part-time workers less favourably or making life difficult for parents who return to work following birth or adoption – tackling an issue collectively will be a better way forward than trying to deal with it on your own. There are many advantages to approaching an issue collectively. If you are a union member, speak to your rep to see what can be done and how best to organise.

If you are not a union member, browse our Union Finder page to find the union most suited to your needs and for information on how to organise where you work.

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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