Guide to UK Part-time Workers’ Employment Benefits
Part-time workers are very common in the workforce today. In fact, they account for 26% of the total UK labour force (8.5 million people) as of July 2018. Part-time workers are classified based on the policies created by the employer. There is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time as it varies from employer to employer, but a part-time worker usually works less than 35 hours a week. All the same, there’s no minimum number of hours in order to qualify for employment rights.
For employers, there’s a big difference between hiring full-time and part-time employees. Hiring part-time workers is usually a way to cut down on labor costs, especially for areas where full-time cover isn’t necessary. It’s also a way to be able to hire people who are in need of flexible hours like students and parents or to test an employee’s performance or cultural fit first, before hiring them full-time.
For workers on the other hand, flexibility is the biggest advantage. By working fewer hours, they have more time for other things such as school, family care, or another part-time job. However, working out their benefits is a little more complicated compared to those of full-timers. Making sure they are receiving their entitled pay and benefits can be confusing, for employers and employees alike.
Are you employing part-time workers? Or are you one yourself? Here’s our handy guide to employment benefits of part-time workers in the UK.
What are the benefits of part-time workers?
Part-time workers are entitled to minimum wage, or the minimum hourly rate a worker should get, based on laws set by the UK government. The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on the employee’s age and whether they’re an apprentice. They must be at least school leaving age to get the National Minimum Wage, and be aged 25 years or older to get the National Living Wage. The current rates as of April 2018 are:
- 25 and over: £7.83
- 21 to 24: £7.38
- 18 to 20: £5.90
- Under 18: £4.20
- Apprentice: £3.70
Like full-timers, they should be paid in periods agreed upon in the employment contract. Pay reference periods can be weekly or monthly, but can’t be longer than 31 days. It’s also important to know that payments such as Income Tax and National Insurance contributions, any payments for wage advances or loans, and expenses that are not required for the job (such as meals) are included in minimum wage calculations.
Pay rates for part-timers must be at least the same hourly pay rate as full-timers in a similar position. However, for enhanced overtime pay, employers can set the same hours threshold for full-timers as part-timers, so a part-timer may not get overtime pay until he/she has worked more than the normal hours of a full-timer.
Benefits and Holidays
Benefits, such as bonuses and holidays, for part-timers must be ‘pro-rata’. This means that they should be in proportion to their hours. Part-timers, like all other workers, are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. However, this amounts to fewer days than a full-timer’s because they work fewer hours per week. If an employer gives more than the statutory minimum amount of holiday, part-timers should also receive the same amount in proportion to their hours.
Employers can give all workers pro rata entitlement of days off in lieu according to the number of hours they work, and this covers part-timers as well. They are also entitled to sick pay, maternity, paternity, and adoption leave and pay plus parental leave as full-time staff are. If companies give more than the statutory entitlement, part-timers must also get these contractual benefits.
As a rule of thumb, employers should not treat their part-timers any less favourably than full-timers. However, there are a few exceptions. Employers can only treat part-timers less favourably if it’s ‘objectively justified’.
How do you ensure they’re paid accurately?
With everything else that goes into running a successful business, making sure part-time workers are being paid accurately can be tedious and costly. Ensuring they’re working the right hours, and are given their entitled statutory benefits can be a lot for any manager to handle. That’s why the right technology is vital to ensuring part-time workers get their benefits on time.
Many businesses today are investing in cloud-based HR systems, because they cut down the work required to manage the workforce. Tanda, for example, doesn’t just reduce administrative work and costs, but optimizes rota scheduling, keeps you updated with legal compliance, and even generates data for big picture analysis.
Creating rotas for part-time workers is easy with Tanda, because you always know who is available. It takes into account working hours and time off per employee, so that you can only schedule employees exactly when they are available. You are also notified if they are working beyond their assigned number of hours. You can even facilitate shift swapping, so that no shifts are ever left unfilled.
And because it also keeps track of time and attendance, your part-timers’ salaries are automatically computed from their timesheets according to their hourly rates. This not only assures employees that they are being paid accurately for the hours that they work, but it also enables employers to easily keep an eye on their costs. Experience all this and more when you sign up for a free Tanda trial today!