Part-time worker less favourable treatment claims – just how similar does the full-time comparator’s job need to be?
In the case of Moultrie v Ministry of Justice, the Employment Appeal Tribunal Judge upheld a decision under the part-time worker regulations that many will find surprising: that a fee-paid member of certain Tribunals was not engaged in the same or broadly similar work as their salaried counterparts even though, as the judge found, 85% of the work done by the salaried full-time workers was the same as the part-time counterparts.
The law was changed in July 2000 to give part-time workers the right not to be treated less favourably than their employer treats a comparable full-time worker. In the regulations, the term “comparable full-time worker” means: a) both the full and part-time workers are “employed by the same employer under the same type of contract”; b) engaged in the same or broadly similar work having regard, where relevant, to whether they have a similar level of qualification, skills and experience; and c) the full-time worker works or is based at the same establishment…”
Nevertheless, the Judge in Moultrie found that a mere 15% difference between the two roles (on a pro-rata basis) was sufficient to mean that the two jobs were notthe “same or broadly similar”.
What do you need to know: this case reminds us that requests from part-time workers for equal treatment with full-time employees should always be carefully considered before they are allowed. This is especially significant for businesses which employ a significant number of part-time workers and where the cost implications of conceding to those requests can be high.