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Part-Time Workers

The Protection of Employees (Part-time Work) Act, 2001 applies to any part-time employee

  • working under a contract of employment or apprenticeship,
  • employed through an Employment Agency,
  • holding office under, or in the service of, the State including members of the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces, civil servants and employees of any health board, harbour authority or vocational education committee.

In the case of agency workers, the party who is liable to pay the wages (employment agency or client company) will, normally, be deemed to be the employer for the purposes of the Act and be responsible for ensuring that a part-time employee is not treated in a less favourable manner than a comparable full-time employee. (For more information relating to Agency Workers see this page.)

A part-time employee is defined as someone who works less hours than a comparable full time employee doing the same type of work.

Under the legislation, a part-time employee cannot be treated less favourably than a comparable full time employee in respect of any condition of employment.

An employer cannot penalise an employee -

(a) for invoking any right of the employee to be treated, in respect of the employee's conditions of employment, in the manner provided for or for giving notice of his/her intention to do so, or
(b) for having in good faith opposed by lawful means an act which is unlawful under the Act, or for giving notice of his/her intention to do so, or
(c) for refusing to accede to a request by the employer to transfer from performing —

(i) full-time work to performing part-time work, or
(ii) part-time work to performing full-time work, or

(d) for giving evidence in any proceedings under this Act or giving notice of his or her intention to do so.