01 July 2000
New legal guide to part-time workers' rights at work
New UK regulations providing equal treatment for part-time workers come into force today. To coincide with the regulations, the Labour Research Department (LRD) is publishing a guide to part timers' employment rights aimed at workplace trade union representatives.
The proportion of jobs categorised as part time grew by almost a quarter (23%) between 1989 and 1999. One in four UK workers now works part time, a total of six million part timers. Women make up the overwhelming majority - 83% - of part-time workers. Indeed 44% of the entire female workforce currently works part time. Although fewer men work part time, their numbers rose dramatically - by 80% - between 1989-99 - compared to a rise of 13% in the number of women part timers.
Although the majority of part timers choose to work less than full-time hours, largely to combine work with caring commitments, they have paid a price in the form of poorer pay and conditions and inferior employment rights. And although there has been legislation aimed at preventing discrimination, it has not always been successful, largely because it has been based on the concept of sex discrimination.
The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, which originate in a European Union Directive, are an important step forward for part-time workers. Although they do not provide everything that trade unionists wanted, they can be used to advance the pay, conditions and status of part timers in the workplace.
Part-time workers, a legal guide for workplace reps sets out the details of the regulations and analyses their implications. It also explains how pre-existing law, notably the Sex Discrimination Act, can continue to be used to enforce part timers' rights. In addition the booklet highlights key bargaining issues in areas such as pensions, holidays and redundancy rights.
Notes to editorsPart-Time Workers - a legal guide for workplace reps is published by the Labour Research Department, 78 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HF, price ?3.40 or ?10 for employers/commercial organisations. LRD booklets are also available on subscription at an annual cost of ?26.95 (?68.95 for employers/ commercial organisations). LRD publishes 10-11 booklets each year.
The Labour Research Department is an independent trade union and labour movement organisation founded over 80 years ago. Around 2,000 trade union organisations, including 54 national unions, representing more than 99% of total TUC membership, are affiliated.
For press enquiries on this booklet contact Sonia McKay, LRD's employment law researcher, on 020 7902 9827. For general enquiries on LRD booklets contact the editor, Celia Dignan, on 020 7902 9813. To place a booklet order phone 020 7928 3649.