Part Time and Fixed Term Employees
Because part time employees and those on fixed term contracts have tended to be treated less favourably than full time, permanent employees, if you are employed on fixed term or part time basis the law provides with specific protections.
Fixed Term Employees
A fixed term contract is one which, in the normal course of events, will terminate either on the:
· Expiry of a specific term.
· Completion of a particular act.
· Occurrence or non-occurrence of a specific event other than reaching retirement age.
Less favourable treatment
Under the (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, you have the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable permanent employee in respect of terms and conditions of your contract, or suffer any other disadvantage as a result of the acts or omissions of your employer.
You must be able to point to a comparable permanent employee, who is employed by the same employer as you are, and you must both be engaged in the same or broadly similar work having regard to your qualifications and skills. Where there is no actual comparator at your place of work you can point to someone at a different site, provided he or she is employed by your employer.
There is no right for permanent employees not to be treated less favourably than fixed term employees.
If identify less favourable treatment, your employer can argue that it is justified. Your employer can do so by showing that:
· The treatment is necessary for a particular reason (which must be aimed at achieving a legitimate objective, necessary to achieve that objective and an appropriate way to achieve the objective).
· Other aspects of your terms and conditions are more favourable and so offset the less favourable treatment.
Written reasons for treatment
If you believe that you have been treated less favourably because you are a fixed term employee, you may request that your employer supplies you with a written statement giving particulars of the treatment along with reasons within 21 days of your request.
A complaint of less favourable treatment must be presented to an Employment Tribunal within three months.
Right to be told about permanent vacancies
Fixed term employees have the right to be informed of any permanent vacancies with the employer. This will be satisfied where the employer publishes vacancies in a medium which the fixed term employee has a reasonable opportunity of reading, for example an internal memo.
Limited renewal of fixed term contracts
· If you have been continuously employed under fixed term contracts for four years or more (discounting any period before 10 July 2002), and
· If your fixed term contract has been renewed or a new fixed term contract has been entered into, and
· If at the time of the most recent renewal or granting of contract, the employment was not justified on objective grounds
· Then you will be regarded as having obtained a permanent contract of employment. Renewal includes extension.
Part Time Employees
If you are a part time worker (defined as someone who does not, according to the practice of the employer in question, work full time), you have the right to be treated as favourably as comparable full time employees who are employed on the same type of contract. A comparable full time worker is someone who is employed on the same type of contract, is engaged in the same or similar work and is usually based at the same establishment.
Less favourable treatment may relate to terms and conditions of your contract, or disadvantage you may suffer due to the acts or omissions of your employer.
If you show less favourable treatment, your employer can argue that it was objectively justified. The treatment is justifiable if
· It was aimed at achieving a legitimate objective
· Necessary to achieve that objective
· An appropriate way to achieve it.
Written reasons for treatment
You may ask your employer for a written statement giving details of the treatment and reasons within 21 days of your request.
Any complaint of less favourable treatment should be presented to an Employment Tribunal within three months.