Part-Time Workers’ Rights

What employments rights do part-time workers have?

All employee protection legislation applies to part-time employees in the same manner as it applies to full-time employees.

What is part-time work and what piece of legislation covers part-time employees?

The Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act, 2001 covers all part-time employees where a part-time employee is defined as an employee whose normal working hours are less than those of a comparable full-time employee (e.g., the part-time employee works 15 hours per week whereas the full working week is 39 hours)

In general, the Act 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
  • 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

What about casual employees, are they the same as part-time employees?

Casual employees can be treated less favourably. The following circumstances may define an employee as being casual:

  • The employee has been working for less than 13 weeks; and
  • The period of service and any previous period of service could not be reasonably considered to constitute regular or seasonal employment

The employee fulfils conditions for casual employment specified in a collective agreement that has been approved by the Labour Court.