Giving someone an employment contract is an exciting time for both parties involved: the employer will be introducing someone new to the team to help the business grow and the new employee will be introduced to a new environment, ready to develop and learn new skills. In your employment contract, you will want to formalise your offer of employment and structure both party's rights and responsibilities. The core features of an employment contract include the date of agreement, the start date and duration (for example whether it is a fixed-term contract or continuous employment will decide whether it needs an end date) and termination clauses, such as notice periods. In your employment contracts it is advised that you also outline:
- Job title
- Number of hours to be worked and working days
- Place of work
- Whether there is a probationary period and how long this is
- Whether there are any conditions of employment
- Employee entitlements, such as sick pay, maternity leave, parental leave.
Whilst an employment agreement does not have to be contained in a written contract, this is recommended to ensure both parties understand the nature of their agreement. The obligations of both the employer and employee will change, depending on the employee's employment status, for example if they are part time. Whilst the type of contract will remain the same, general employment contract templates are not sufficient for your part time employees because they will fail to adequately reflect the nature of your employment relationship and the terms of employment.
In this article, we will outline what a part time employee is, what they are entitled to under employment law (even though they are not full time employees) and how you can create a tailored and robust part time employment contract on Legislate.
What is a part-time employee?
A part time employee is someone who works less hours than those working a standard working week, typically less than 35 hours per week. As an employer, part time employees help manage costs where you do not need a full time cover and can help you save on overtime costs and reduce stress relating to staff absenteeism. Part time employees might also bring in new skills and can widen your pool of candidates given that part time jobs are growing in popularity.
Part-time employee rights
Part time employees are entitled to the same rights as full time employers. Under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, part time workers should receive equivalent contractual benefits to full time workers on a pro rata basis. They should receive the same treatment for pay rates, pension schemes, training, selection for promotion and development and the opportunity to take career breaks. Crucially, part time workers are entitled to annual leave like their full time counterparts, just on a pro rated basis, and must also receive the national minimum wage.
However, part time employees may not receive overtime pay until they have worked the normal hours of a full-time worker, set by the employer. Part time employees may also not receive all of the same benefits as full time employees if the differing treatment can be objectively justified. For example, health insurance may only be provided to full time employees. A full time employee who is ill for 5 consecutive days will miss 5 days of work whereas a part time employee might only miss 2 days. The cost to the business in the first case is greater and therefore providing private health care, which might reduce the time away from work, for the full time employee and not the part time employee can be justified.
Part-time contract of employment
When hiring a part time employee, it is important that your contract of employment sets out the employee’s entitlements and obligations, taking into account aspects such as prorated holiday entitlement and benefits. Using a standard employment contract, designed for full time employment, will not be sufficient to adequately reflect the nature of your arrangements and it can lead to confusion between the parties as the contract as a whole, even if you have specified hours of work, will not be tailored to these individual circumstances.
Creating your part time employment agreements on Legislate is a sure way to avoid confusion between the parties and to ensure you are respecting employment rights. Legislate automatically configures the terms of the employment contract to reflect the fact it is part time, so that the entire agreement reflects this arrangement. To create your specifically tailored employment contract, users simply need to select the nature of the employment for the contract template to automatically reflect whether the employee will be part time or full time.
For example, if an employee is full time, their agreement will read:
" 6.1 The normal working hours of the Employee shall be  hours, to be worked between [9 am] to [5:30 pm], [Monday] to [Friday] and such additional hours as are necessary for the proper performance of the Employees duties."
If an employee is part time, their agreement should instead read:
"6.1 The Employee will be required to work part-time, the normal working hours of the Employee shall be 15 hours, to be worked during the hours of [12 pm to 5 pm Tuesday to Friday] and such hours as are necessary for the proper performance of the Employees duties."
Making it explicit in your agreement that the contract is part time ensures that the employment contract reflects the employee's job description and that both the party's are aware of their rights and obligations. To check your employment obligations, visit the gov.uk page on contracts types and employer responsibilities, ranging from fixed term to zero hour contracts.
When hiring, it's important to have legally sound employment contracts in place to protect your company and employees. With Legislate, you can easily tailor lawyer approved agreements to suit your needs, and easily extract relevant data from these agreements. Plus, our platform allows for electronic signing, making the contract process more efficient for both you and your employees. Book a demo or sign up today.
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.