The purpose of the Act is to provide that a part-time employee cannot be
treated in a less favourable manner than a comparable full-time
employee in relation to conditions of employment. It also provides for
the following –
- To provide that all employee protection legislation applies to a
part-time employee in the manner as it already applies to a full-time
employee. Any qualifying conditions (with the exception of any hours
thresholds) applying to a full-time employee in any of that legislation,
also apply to a part-time employee.
- To improve the quality of part-time work.
- To facilitate the development of part-time work on a voluntary basis
and to contribute to the flexible organisation of working time in a
manner which takes into account the needs of employers and workers.
The Labour Relations Commission has produced a Code of Practice on Access to Part-Time work to
assist employers on improving access to part-time employment.
The Code of Practice aims to encourage employers and employees to
consider part-time work and provides guidance on procedures to improve
access to part-time work for those employees who wish to work on a
In general employers should consider how to introduce opportunities for
part-time work and should maximise the range of posts available for
part-time work. It is important to remember that full-time employees do
not have a statutory right to change to part-time employment or to other
flexible working arrangements such as job sharing or unpaid time off
What is a Part-Time Employee?
A part-time employee is an employee whose normal working hours are less
than the number of hours worked by a comparable employee. A part-time
employee no longer has to have 13 weeks continuous service and no longer
has to work a minimum of 8 hours per week to be covered by the Act.
It is worth noting however that for the purposes of entitlement under
unfair dismissals or redundancy legislation the part-time employee must
have the required continuous service of 12 months to accrue rights.
Synopsis of a Part-Time Work Determinations made by the Labour
Court in under the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act
Beacon Automotive Ltd – and – A Worker
Subject: Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001,
sections 15 and 17 –
Appeal against Rights Commissioner decision R-043982-PT-06/JT –
penalisation of employee by employer
Background: The claimant was employed with a car franchise as a
part-time receptionist from August 2005. In March 2006 the franchise was
bought by the respondent. She continued working with the new owners.
She was asked to work fulltime which she declined, but agreed to change
her work pattern from working Wednesday to Tuesday with the next five
working days off, to Monday to Friday with the next five working days
In June 2006, the claimant took a week’s holiday which meant the company
was without a receptionist for three weeks. The respondent hired a
college student to replace her.
On the claimant’s return, she found someone else at her desk and her
emails had been deleted. She claimed that when she met management at
4.30pm that day she was dismissed on the basis that the company was not
interested in part-time workers.
The respondent denied that the claimant was dismissed but claimed that
she had walked out on the job which was still available to her.
Rights Commissioner Decision: The Rights Commissioner held that
the complaint was well founded.
Labour Court Determination: The Court found that the complainant
had been dismissed on the day she returned to work because the company
wished to replace her with a full-time employee. It awarded her €13,000
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