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Part-time employees’ rights

Legal notice 427 of 2002 as amended by Legal Notice 140 of 2007 regulates discrimination against part-time workers and improves the quality of part-time work. Moreover, its purpose is to facilitate the development of part-time work.

The regulation specifies that “It shall be the duty of the employer to ensure that part-time workers are not being treated less favourably than a comparable whole-time employee in respect of:

1. the employee’s contract

2. or any other benefits, solely because of the employee’s part-time work

Different treatment may however be justified on objective grounds.

Generally, where the part-time work is one in respect of which social security contributions are payable and where the working hours are or exceed 20 hours per week averaged over 13 weeks, the employee concerned is entitled to entitlements on a pro-rata basis.

There are sectors, where this limit is less than 20 hours per week (as in the jewellery and watches manufacturing sector, and teachers in the private schools sector). In this case, the right to entitlements on a pro-rata basis comes into play if the weekly working hours are at least 14 hours.

Those part-timers, whose part-time employment is their principle employment, shall be entitled on pro-rata bases to:

1. Entitlement to all public holidays, annual vacation leave, sick leave, birth leave, bereavement leave, marriage leave and injury leave.

2. Entitlement to statuary bonuses and any other income to which a comparable full-time employee, with similar duties is entitled to.

Pro-rata entitlement shall be computed in hours as a fraction of the total number of hours entitled to a comparable full-time employee. The pro-rata is calculated as the proportion that the number of weekly hours worked by the part-time employee bears to the number of the normal weekly hours worked by a full-time employee performing same work.

(The vacation leave of a full timer working 40 hours per week is 192 hours. If the part-timer works 20 hours a week, the pro-rata vacation leave entitlement is 20/40x192 hours = 96 hours.)

Part-time employee shall be entitled to participate in vocational training programmes and every employer shall inform part-time employees in a timely manner of the availability of full-time work opportunities. The refusal by a part-time to be transferred to full-time employment shall not be a valid reason for the termination of employment.

These regulations shall not apply to:

1. Holders of political office, including members of parliament and local councillors.

2. Persons who are following apprenticeship schemes managed by the Employment and Training Corporation.

3. Persons appointed on public sector boards, commissions or authorities.

4. And, persons who are holders of a judicial office.

For more information contact Clive Farrugia