Employment Law: Avoiding less favourable treatment of part-time employees

Employment Law: Avoiding less favourable treatment of part-time employees

The outcome of a case against British Airways (British Airways plc v Pinaud 2018) highlights the need to ensure consistency in the employment contract when employing part-time workers.

Ms Pinaud worked for British Airways as a cabin crew purser, initially full-time and then moved to a flexible working arrangement following maternity leave. This arrangement saw her working 14 days on and 14 days off. She was required to be available for work for 10 out of the 14 days she was on duty – a total of 130 days per annum. By comparison, her full time equivalent worked six days on and three days off, equating to 243 days a year. This meant that as a part-time employee, Ms Pinaud was required to work 53.5% of the full-time hours contract but she was only being paid 50% of the full-time salary.

The Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 establish that part-time workers have the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparative full-time worker in terms of their contract, or through any act or failure to act. This applies where the treatment is on the grounds of being a part-time worker and not where there is legitimate objective.

British Airways said that Ms Pinaud was required to be available, but not always required to work 130 days each year.

The Employment Tribunal found that this pay differential was indeed less favourable treatment. They did see a legitimate objective in the shift pattern but that the pay arrangement wasn’t a necessary or appropriate means to achieve this objective. They could instead pay 53.5% of the full-time salary and achieve the same outcome.

The case went on to an Employment Appeal Tribunal and then Court of Appeal where the appeal was dismissed, finding that the terms of Ms. Pinaud’s contract were less favourable than a full-time comparator.

What do you need to do?

  • Review the hours worked and salary paid to any staff you employ on part-time contracts.
  • Compare with those of your full-time employees and make sure you can justify any differences.
  • Make sure that you expressly set out hours of pay and work to reduce the risk of discrepancy.

cHRysos HR Solutions, is a Doncaster based HR training and consultancy company providing CIPD and CMI accredited qualifications nationwide, as well as HR Consultancy to SMEs.  For more information about cHRysos HR and the consultancy services we provide, email info@chrysos.org.uk or call +44 (0)1302 802128.

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