Requesting part-time working
If you want to switch from full-time to part-time hours and you've been employed for 26 weeks, the law says you have the right to make that request of your employer. They don't have to agree to your request, but they must consider it in a reasonable manner.
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Can I request a switch to part-time working?
The law in this country states that as long as you've worked for the same employer for more than 26 weeks, you have the right to ask your employer to consider flexible working arrangements, including making the switch from full-time to part-time work hours. It's quite easy to do this too. You simply send a letter to your employer that's legally known as a statutory application.
From the point you send the letter, your employer has three months to consider the request, or longer if you agree to a delay in them responding. At the end of this time, your employer can either agree to the request and amend the normal working hours in your contract of employment accordingly, or they can deny the request and write to you, stating their reasons for the refusal.
Crucially, your employer doesn't have to agree to your request; but they absolutely must give their reasons why if they deny it. Where those reasons are inadequate, we may be able to help you take your case to an employment tribunal.
What if my employer refused a request for part-time hours?
If your employer has written back to you denying a request to switch to part-time hours, they must have included a reason or reasons for the refusal in this letter. Reasons for a refusal might include:
- The employer's belief that you cannot do your job adequately in the reduced hours
- The employer's belief that they would be unable to recruit someone else to make up the extra hours on a job-sharing basis
These may be perfectly reasonable objections; or you may believe them to be unfair. If you don't accept them as being good reasons for a refusal of your request, your employer may allow you to appeal against the decision, enabling you to state your case more thoroughly, perhaps with the help of a specialist employment law solicitor. If your request is still rejected at this stage and you still believe it to be a reasonable request, you may be able to take your case to an employment tribunal.
Will I lose rights if I switch to part-time hours?
In the year 2000, the government introduced new laws to protect part-time workers from suffering any disadvantage compared to full-time workers. These disadvantages include being offered less advantageous contract terms than full-time workers and other detrimental actions such as being denied promotion because of part-time status.
If you believe that you're being treated less favourably than full-time workers in any way that is due to your part-time status, we're here to help you understand your legal rights, and to remind your employer of their obligations whenever necessary.
Download our free guide to part-time workers rights
Part-time workers often think that they have fewer rights than their full-time colleagues, and that's unfortunately a view shared by many employers. In fact, you have the same rights as full-time members of staff. That's why our specialist employment solicitors have produced a legal advice guide to help you understand your , which you're welcome to download and print without obligation.
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