How much holiday are you entitled to when you work part-time, and what about bankholidays? Find out what your main rights are as a part-time worker under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (“the Regulations”). Some Statistics In order to put things into context it may be helpful to take a […]
How much holiday are you entitled to when you work part-time, and what about bankholidays? Find out what your main rights are as a part-time worker under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (“the Regulations”).
In order to put things into context it may be helpful to take a brief look at the part-time employment market. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), 8,049,000 people worked part-time and 21,787,000 worked full-time in May/ July 2013. Of the part-time workers, 5,949,000 were women and only 2,101,000 were men. Although this is a decrease from May/ July 2012 (where 5,996,000 women worked part-time) it shows substantially more women than men currently work part-time. Furthermore, the number of women working part-time is growing – up by 0.6% in April/ June 2013, whereas the number of part-time working men decreased by 1.3%.
Although this article focuses on part-time workers’ rights under the Regulations, these figures show that if an employer has a policy that treats part-time workers less favourably, they could easily face a claim for indirect sex discrimination due to the amount of women that make up the part-time workers market.
Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous employment have a legal right to request to work flexibly if they care for a child under 17, a disabled child under 18 or an adult that is their spouse, civil partner, partner, relative or living at their address. However, whilst there is a right of request, there is no right to make a switch and an employer is not obligated to grant the request (although a refusal may be indirect discrimination). Find how to request flexible work here.
A part-time worker should not to be treated unfavourably because they work part-time. They should receive the same rates of pay, have the same access to promotion and training and incentive schemes and receive an equivalent pro-rated holiday entitlement. This applies to all workers (not just employees), whatever their gender. Differences in treatment can be justified for objective reasons, such as qualifications or conduct.
A Comparison Is Needed
In assessing whether you may have been treated less favourably, you must compare yourself to a colleague (called a “comparator”). For a part-time employee, this is a full-time employee of the same employer under the same type of contract, engaged in the same or broadly similar work and (preferably) based at the same workplace. An employee, for example, could not be a comparator for a consultant, even though their work may be similar, as they have different types of contract.
The Pro Rata Principle
Under the Regulations, part-time workers should receive the same pay and benefits on a pro rata basis as full-time workers. Some practical examples are:-
A part-time worker is entitled pro rata to the same amount of paid holidays as a full-time worker. This is calculated on the basis that workers have a statutory minimum entitlement of 5.6 weeks’ holiday per year. Since they work fewer days or hours per week, part-time workers are entitled to fewer paid holidays.
In terms of bank holidays, however, the situation is less straightforward. Some employers only allow workers paid holidays where the public holiday falls on a day they would usually work. If you work Wednesday to Friday you would not be entitled to paid holiday for public holidays falling on a Monday. Although at first glance this would appear to be less favourable treatment, this approach has been permitted on the basis that the reason was not the part-time status but the working days. Nonetheless, the law is not clear on this point and employers’ policies vary so you should feel relatively comfortable requesting a pro rated entitlement to bank and public holidays regardless of whether or not they fall on your usual working days.
Certain businesses pay overtime rates once the part-time worker has worked the same amount of hours per week as the threshold for a full-time worker. Others pay overtime rates after a certain number of hours have been worked over contractual hours (e.g. 5 hours over the normal weekly hours). Both of these approaches should be challenged as they treat part-time workers less favourably and potentially discriminate indirectly against women (who are statistically more likely to work part-time). The fairer policy would be to pay overtime rates of pay whenever the worker exceeds their contractual hours, whether full time or part time.
When it comes to benefits, a part-time worker is entitled to receive a pro rated benefit. However, an employer may be able to excuse enrolling you in a scheme if the cost of providing the health insurance, for example, was disproportionate to the benefit you would receive. This would only justify exceptional differences in treatment.
If You Are Treated Less Favourably
If you are being treated less favourably, the best initial approach is to check your facts and have an informal discussion with your line manager. You could also lodge a formal grievance or request a written statement of the reasons for this treatment, which you should receive within 21 days of your request. If you are unsatisfied with the response, you should consider if there is the possibility to negotiate and whether it is worthwhile seeking financial compensation in the Employment Tribunal. This can be done while you are still working or after the relationship has ended but the claim must be presented within 3 months of the last act or omission you are complaining about.
The government has announced its intention to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous employment, regardless of whether or not they have caring responsibilities. This is due to become law by 2014.
Author: Melanie Stancliffe from Thomas Eggar LLP (Solicitors. For further assistance, please contact Michael Goitein or Melanie Stancliffe at Thomas Eggar LLP (Solicitors) on 0207 972 9720 Michael.Goitein@thomaseggar.com, Melanie.Stancliffe@thomaseggar.com.
Are you struggling to work out how your role could be more flexible? Is there a flexible job out there for you? Could you return to your employer in a role that is more flexible? You might think you have few choices or are lost in the number of possibilities. Here’s a new way of looking at this.
Start by thinking afresh about the kind of role you would like to create for yourself if you were free to do so. What would you really create if you were entirely free?
Amanda*, formerly a Board director of a PR company, consulted me about her return to work after a 10 year career break during which she’d carried out some individual PR projects. She was uncertain as to what to do next: although she enjoyed some aspects of her previous role, there were others that didn’t interest her at all anymore. During our work together, Amanda identified the specific elements of her former role that still appealed (qualitative research and guiding guests around exhibitions and historic places) and set about researching how to pursue her career in each of these fields.
Rosie* had taken a six year break from a City law firm. While she loved working in the law and felt strong loyalty to her former employer, she knew that the demands of returning to the partnership track were not right for her. At the same time, Rosie knew that she had lots to offer her firm: she understood the pressures on trainee and newly qualified solicitors as well as the business needs of the organisation. She believed that she could help her firm by providing specific support to the lawyers as they set about building their own practices … and the HR Director agreed with her! The firm funded Rosie to gain a coaching qualification and she has continued to develop and evolve her internal career management role as the needs of the firm have changed.
Both of these are examples of women who have designed a role which stimulates them, builds on their skills and expertise as well as taking them in a new direction. While Amanda is crafting a role from elements of her former career, Rosie has been able to create a role which was new both for her and for her employer.
If you’d like to try this approach, ask yourself the following questions:
- Which elements of my previous roles did I most enjoy and excel at?
- Can these elements exist as roles on their own or as key aspects of other roles?
- Did I notice any gaps at a previous employer which I would like to fill?
Do you know of anyone else who has crafted their new role? We’d love to include their story here.
Author: From the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.
One of the biggest challenges for working parents is how to balance leaning into a demanding corporate career with caring responsibilities. In an era of mass customisation, the smart answer is to customise your job.
Inflexible flexible working policies?
Chances are, your employer offers flexible working policies. The problem is that often they’re not only inflexible in their application, but also likely to sit within rigid corporate cultures and entrenched working practices that deny the possibility of combining parenthood with a senior career. It’s no surprise that research reveals the most common flexible arrangement women opt for is some form of part-time working –experiencing the well documented “part-time pay penalty” and taking a hit on longer term career prospects.
Offering reduced hours arrangements is neither truly flexible nor effective – it’s merely a way of squeezing those employees unable to balance outside responsibilities with stringent full-time hours into traditional workplace arrangements.
In an era where almost anything can be customized, the smart answer is to customize your job. Given available technology and the relentless drive towards 24/7 working, there’s never been a better time to redesign full-time jobs. The challenge lies in identifying an arrangement you can be confident will work for you.
Ready to customize your full-time job for better balance?
Use this four-step process to customize your manager level full-time job so you can remain on the career ladder and live a more balanced life.
1. List the Key Tasks for which your employer hired you
The key parts of your job are the parts of your job where the majority of your focus should lie. You need to start here, and it’ s essential for two reasons. Firstly, it will remind you of the skills, qualifications and experience (both prior and gained inside your current organisation) that make you valuable to your employer.
And secondly, it will identify clearly the “deliverables” on which your workplace performance should be assessed. One of the biggest challenges where a flexible arrangement involves remote working, is making sure senior managers are assessing you on outputs, not presence.
Now is also a good time to identify those parts of your job which eat into your time but don’t actually require your level of skill. Can they be delegated? Automated? Or perhaps even eliminated?
2. Identify which of your deliverables are “time critical” and which are “location critical”
Time critical tasks are things like monthly reports, location critical tasks are things like on-site training courses. So take your list of key tasks and identify which of your key tasks fall in these categories.
Reviewing these two aspects will suggest where the flexibility in the job lies. And, of course, feeding into this is the fact that few people work alone so you’ll need to give thought to how you and your colleagues can support each other’s desire for flexibility.
3. Consider your personal preference for managing the work-life interface
Thirty years of social science research into work-life balance has shown – among other things – that most people tend to have a preference over whether they keep work and life separate or integrate them.
Working in circumstances which go against your preferences is likely to make you unhappy, stressed and disengaged. Of course total separation and total integration are actually two ends of a continuum. To identify your personal style take a look at this online questionnaire developed by a leading work-life academic.
4. Identify your stakeholders
Finally, take some time to identify and list the people around you that will need to be on board for your new working arrangement to succeed. This might include customers or clients, other people inside your workplace and people in your wider network – such as partners, childcare providers and so on. At minimum you’ll need to manage your interactions with them differently; and in some cases re-negotiating existing arrangements may be necessary.
Having worked through these four steps, you’re more likely to arrive at a customised full-time job which will enable you to keep your feet on the career ladder while feeling you’re living a more balanced life. And the chances are that in most cases it will consist of small adaptations, rather than a radical re-design. Which is all to the good. As someone pointed out to me a couple of years ago “change happens best when nobody notices!”
Your final challenge will be to identify and develop the key skills you’ll need to ensure on-going success. These may include enhancing or even changing your communication style, improved self-management or even training so you can harness technology more effectively away from the office.
If your employer provides coaching or training as part of their Career Development Strategy, now’s the time to take advantage of this.
Author: Anna Meller. has spent the last 20 years making work-life balance her business. A successful consultant, thought leader, researcher and author, Anna’s accessible approach is both evidence based and pragmatic. In December 2013 she will be piloting a workshop ‘Leaning in on Our Terms‘ in London to explore the ideas shared above.
Back to school and back to blogging… During the last few weeks of the summer holidays I’ve felt a real pull between wanting to enjoy the good weather and to spend relaxed time with my teenage children, and the desire to get my mind focused on work again. It reminded me of the conflicting feelings I experienced when I was moving back into work after my career break. I knew that I wanted to start a new career, but I was worried about the complications and possible stresses of being a working mother.
For many women returners, this uncertainty can keep us awake at 4am, inwardly debating pros and cons and never coming to a clear-cut conclusion. Because we feel ambivalent, we question whether it is the right decision. As one of my coaching clients asked me recently: “I keep having nagging worries about going back to work, so does that means it’s not the right thing to do?”
Coping with ambivalence and transition
William Bridges, who has been researching life transitions since the 1970′s, reassures us that few changes are universally positive, “letting go [of our old life] is at best an ambiguous experience”. So just because you feel confused and unsettled, it doesn’t mean that you are making the wrong choice. Bridges explains that when we make a change in our lives we go through a transition period of psychological readjustment, when up-and-down emotions are completely natural. If we anticipate this unsettled period, we are less likely to retreat back to our comfort zone without even exploring the alternatives.
Be both rational and intuitive
If you’re stuck endlessly debating rational pros & cons of returning to work, it can help to use your more intuitive side. Imagine yourself at 70, looking back on yourself today. Is your 70 year old self sympathetic or impatient with your current indecisiveness? What advice would your future self give you? Would she encourage you to make a change and relaunch into the workplace now or to wait a while longer or maybe to make other changes to your life?
Has anyone felt 100% certain that going back to work was the right decision?
Author: From the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.
When becoming a mother women are all too often faced with a hard reality of putting their career temporarily on the shelf to focus on their children.
However, a recent press release from Crunch Accounting has revealed an unprecedented rise in female freelancing. Female sole traders have shown a growth of 21% since 2008 with the gender gap in London continuing to narrow so that women now account for 41% of new starters in the freelance community.
With a third of all female freelancers being mothers and the majority of freelancers aged between 25 and 34 now being ladies, we have to ask what’s shifted in the working community for this unprecedented rise in mums to bring home the bacon, whilst watching the kids.
Why the rise of the freelancing mother?
Flexibility: The obvious answer is the flexibility that freelancing provides for working mothers that an office based job with traditional hours cannot. Being able to allocate work-time around childcare, is not only going to save you money on a potential £11,000 a year on nursery costs (not to mention other childcare), but also allow you to manage your work efficiently.
Hostile environment: The latest findings on a Freelance Advisor poll suggested that 80% of Briton’s believe that is has become increasingly difficult for women to progress in large corporations, largely due to regressive attitudes in the office towards women and a gender bias which sometimes supersedes mothers.
Tax saving: HMRC’s recent capping of Child Benefit at £60,000 has also encouraged some mothers who earn near the threshold, to move into part-time or freelance work, in order to maintain their original income on a lower salary and retain their benefits.
In total women accounted last year for 31% of the freelancing community, although the gender gap looks increasingly likely to close as further tax incentives are rolled out in the next few years in favour of getting parents, more importantly, mothers back into work.
Brilliant infographic for using Social Media for your jobsearch, by Gumtree. It summarizes the do’s and don’ts for using Social Media, and helps you decide what to do with your on line CV
“The number of unemployed in the UK 2.51 million. 1 in 10 young job hunters are now rejected because of their social media use, so its becoming increasingly important to ‘behave’ yourself across networks. A single tweet could make or break a job offer…”
The much anticipated first half term of the year is almost here.
It is my particular favourite as it is the first in the new school year, autumn season and usually around Halloween/Diwali, end of daylight savings and a real game changer in routines.
I remember when my son started school, I was petrified of how I would handle the ‘1- week- every- 6 weeks-routine’. Of course, not everyone can afford to get time off work for all school holidays, given that the average number of school days is only 190 days a year!
With a little forward planning and networking (yes what you use in your day job) it need not be stressful!
Of course what I am writing below is not any new information and common sense really, but you could use it as a quick checklist.
- Start early – schools publish their calendars and teacher training days well in advance so make sure it is on your fridge door or somewhere easily visible
- Ask for help – your partner, family member, grandparent could pitch in 1 day of the week – it could be just what they need to (re)connect with your child(ren)
- Holiday clubs – An all-time favourite of mine –there is no dearth of providers, check your local school, council, Net mums website for what is on – most providers even have early bird discounts so the point about starting early helps – if your child’s best friend is also planning to go to the same club, check with his/her parent to make sure you book the same day(s) and your child will be extra happy! Use your childcare vouchers and it’s easy on the wallet too!
- Offer to agree on pick up or drop arrangements with your friends/neighbours as most clubs are only 10am – 4 pm or check if the club has an early drop/late pick up arrangement (usually for an additional fee)
- If your employer is flexible and the nature of your job permits, try to get 1 day in the half term to work from home or a similar flexible arrangement
- Plan plan plan ahead – Book early and use the half term week to get these done for yourself and/or your children – eye check-up/dental check-ups, shop for new shoes (scuffed already?!!)
- Take a day off – Yes why not?! Most employers will appreciate that you are not just taking the whole week off – spend the day relaxing with your children, it need not be planned to the minute detail or become an expensive day out at a theme park – my favourite is going to the local park to pick up autumn leaves, conkers and a picnic lunch or tea – weather permitting or a ‘day in’ in pyjamas, doing Halloween, Diwali activity sheets, some baking etc. It might even be a day for ‘trick or treating’. Get some art supplies and stickers from the pound store and you should be sorted!
- Arrange play dates or even better – team up with a friend/colleague so that you have 2 days sorted this way with each of you having to take off only 1 day each – the wider your social circle – the better! Have a cuppa with your friend when you pick up and unwind!
- Keep a journal – Encourage your child(ren) to keep a half term journal/scrap book or an autumn bucket list – let them put in those leaves, conkers etc and write about them – you have just made half term learning fun and improve their handwriting along the way
- Have a movie and popcorn night on the last day of half term – what more could you ask for?! Kids get to choose the movie
- Print out that all important certificate – Kids love reward recognition (and stickers!) – there are free printables on the web, even Microsoft Word has a template – get one printed in colour and you have just made their half term – THE BEST HALF TERM EVER.
At last week’s City Mothers event Freshfields partner Kathleen Healy shared what she learned from her 9 month posting to Hong Kong with 2 toddlers. Daunting, that’s for sure. But Kathleen proves it can be done and enjoyed too. She shared the stage with Catherine Weir from Citibank, who has been travelling the world with her husband and 2 children for over 15 years, and is currently based in Geneva.
I went along to the breakfast and have summarised for you what Kathleen learned during her posting, with additional tips and advice from Catherine:
1. Focus on ‘How could it be done’
In your head you may have a voice telling you ‘It can’t be done’, quiet that voice and focus on ‘How could it be done’ instead. Most employers have supported families through the process of re-location before and can be an invaluable source of information. They often know what has helped other families. There are a huge amount of on-line resources. Remember to also check out resources from other employers, large corporations with many years of expat experience, such as Shell, often have freely available resources.
2. Think about what it will add professionally
This could for instance include: new contacts in your network, access to different levels or different parts of your organisation, greater exposure to decision makers, building up of unique experience or making you into the ‘go to’ person.
3. Ask the same 2 questions for your other half
Encourage your other half to think lateral and be positive. In Kathleen’s case, her partner was keen to join, and as an IT analyst he was able to find work as a contractor in Hong Kong. Even if he is keen to go, it’s still good to make sure he thinks about the benefits for himself, particularly career progression for him and how it might be enhanced/otherwise affected as they can help both of you through those really tough moments that invariably come up once you have arrived at your new location.
Following your partner abroad can often feel like a career sacrifice. However it doesn’t have to be. Catherine’s partner learned Chinese during his stay abroad which – albeit many years later – turned out to be a great asset for a trader.
4. Ask the same 2 questions for your children
What will your children get out of it, and how could it benefit them? What would you like them to learn? Most children are surprisingly adaptable. Make sure you find information on childcare in the country you are moving to before you leave. Your employer, Mumsnet and on-line research can give you a lot of insights. In countries like the Philippines and Hong Kong, most people have live-in nannies that are very affordable, as a result families do not have childcare issues. Imagine if you could adapt to what is the custom in the country you are moving to, or whether you would be a lot happier sticking to a different arrangement.
5. Understand the culture of flexible working in your new location
If you currently work flexibly you may need to consider adapting your ways of working or working hours to the working culture in your new location. If working flexibly is something your new working office embraces, you may need to adapt or at least be sensitive to the new environment. Perhaps you might need to adapt for the first couple of months, and use that time to understand what it will look like for your colleagues, managers and staff, before you introduce a new working schedule.
6. Remember to review your contractual terms
Before you decide to go, consider:
- What does your current contract state, perhaps you signed up to being mobile long time ago in which case it might be harder to refuse
- If you are asked to take up a secondment but you don’t wish to go, is that ‘not now’ or ‘not ever? If at some point you may like to travel again or be considered for secondment in the future, when would you be prepared to do so?
If you do decide to go, consider:
- What benefits will be part of the contract, what benefits will NOT be included. In case some benefits are not included, that you would like to have, perhaps there is some flexibility and space for negotiation
- What are they asking you to sign: a new contract, a local contract or an extension of your current contract?
- How will you be paid? Home or local currency? Will you need a local bank account?
- What will happen to your work in your home office? Client relationships? How will they be looked after?
- What happens when you return? Will you indeed receive the same Terms&Conditions, salary and bonus opportunities?
- What does it say in your current contract about the smaller but sometimes equally important matters? eg. Will you return to the same office space and same desk?
Also remember to stay in touch with your home office while you are away. Perhaps you can dial into calls or find video conference facilities to help you keep in touch. It is key your colleagues still remember you when you return and you are in touch with developments in your ‘home’ office. Make sure you also update them on what you are doing and what skills and expertise you are gaining. Get credit for what you are doing and don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion.
Overall both Kathleen and Catherine agreed that planning is critical. The more you research and prepare, the more likely it is you will get what you need in your new location.
Author: Inge Woudstra, Director Mum & Career. Based on a talk by: Kathleen Healy, partner in the Employment, Pensions and Benefits Group of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. She heads the Asia Employment, Pensions and Benefits practice. Catherine Weir, Managing Director, Head of Citi Global Family Office Group and Vice Chairman of CITI Institutional Client Group in EMEA. The talk with organised by CityMothers on 12 September 2013.