Can you be made redundant for refusing to switch to full-time work?

Can an employer make me redundant simply because they want me to work full time when I currently only work part time? I am not convinced that this is a redundancy as my position or work is not diminishing. If anything the argument is that there is too much work for me to carry it out part time. If it was a redundancy, I would be the only person in the pool as I am the only person working part time.  I would like to know what would happen if I do not agree to increasing my hours. They have mentioned that this could result in me being made redundant, but I don’t agree with this. I don’t want to cause any trouble and accept that I may not be able to continue working there, but shouldn’t I be offered a Settlement Agreement instead of being made redundant?

Stressed businesswoman


It’s important to check what are your contractual hours in your employment contract.

It’s also important whether you have always been on a part-time contract, or whether you have been full time with this company in the past and gone to part time latterly. You are in a stronger position if the contract is, or has always been, part time.

1. It would be unwise for the company to insist that a role can only be done full-time;  taking this position is a form of indirect gender discrimination  –  discriminating  against women who may not be able to take on full-time work.

It would also be difficult for the company to argue a valid case for making a role redundant where the workload is actually increasing, as you say, because there are no reduced requirements.

2. It’s difficult, of course, to predict what the Company will do if you do not agree to increase your hours.

However, an ET would look unfavourably on a company that made an employee redundant because they couldn’t extend their hours to fill the increasing requirements of a role. The company would need to show to an ET that they had made an effort to consider other alternatives before making your role redundant –  for example: taking on an additional person and making the role a job share, where two or more people share what is then  a full-time position or dividing up the additional  tasks across other members of the team.

If the company has actually cited redundancy as a consequence of you not increasing your hours , that is unlawful and does not follow the correct process.

We would suggest that you check your contractual hours, then propose a meeting with the company.  At the meeting ask if they can discuss various options to meet the new job requirements:    job sharing the role, i.e so advertising for another part-time role and be prepared to be involved in the recruitment process for a job share.

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