date: June 29 2000
embargo: 00:01 hours July 1 2000
Attention: industrial, womens', personal finance correspondents
new rights for part-timers start today
The UK's six million part-time workers gain new rights to equal treatment with their full time colleagues from today. The new regulations, which implement an EU Directive, have been warmly welcomed by the TUC as a `significant advance in workers' rights - particularly for women.' A new guide to the regulations is available free from the TUC's know your rights line - 0870 600 4 882. (The text of the leaflet is attached or available from the TUC).
The new right means that it is now illegal for part-time workers to be treated less well than full-time workers doing a similar job for the same employer. As well as pay other terms and conditions are covered such as sick pay rights, maternity and parental leave, access to pension schemes, access to training and holidays.
The new rights flow from trade union initiatives at the European level. The Directive was negotiated between European employer and union organisations.
Part-timers who think they may be the subject of discrimination will need to show:
· they are covered by the law;
· a full time worker (who the law allows as a comparison) receives better treatment, or for those who have switched from full-time to part-time the treatment they used to get was better;
· and that this is due to the difference in working status.
Most workers are covered by the new law as it applies to both employees and workers; contract, temporary and permanent workers; and starts on the first day of work. The government extended coverage after strong TUC view were put during the consultation period.
But some part timers will have difficulty finding a full-time worker who can be used as a comparator. This is because they must be doing the same or very similar work, be employed by the same employer and have the same contractual status.
This means that part-timers employed on a casual basis will find it hard to compare themselves with a permanent member of staff doing a similar job, and where jobs are only performed by part timers - as is common in cleaning and the hospitality sector - there will be no-one with whom a comparison can be made.
TUC General Secretary, John Monks, said, "This is a very welcome advance for part-time workers, most of whom are women. Once again people at work in Britain should thank Europe for a sensible advance in workplace rights.
"Of course not every part-timer will immediately benefit. Most probably work for responsible employers who already treat them equally. But there are also many doing some of the worst-paid jobs who will not have full-time workers with whom they can compare themselves. This group have benefited from the minimum wage and the paid holiday rights in the working time regulations, but there is still a long way to go in winning a fair deal for this group."
Notes to Editors:
All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
This is the latest in a series of TUC rights leaflets available on the know your rights line 0870 600 4 882. Lines are open every day from 8am-10pm. Calls are charged at the national rate.
The text of the leaflet follows or is available from the TUC. A properly printed and designed version will shortly be available from the TUC line.
Media enquiries: Liz Chinchen on 020 7467 1248 or 076 99 744115 (pager)
new rights for part timers start
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