Doing a full time job in part time hours: ask the expert

I was working full time until I had my baby and before I returned I asked if I could return part time. This was accepted (my boss’ words were that I was pushing on an open door as it meant that they could pay me £11,000 less per year). However, I am still doing the same job as before – work gets left on my desk for my return the next day and I am having to work into the evenings, days off and Sundays to keep up. All the extra is without pay and they will not offer to pay me for the extra. Should I still be doing the same job as before or how should they be addressing this problem? I have raised it 3 times now and nothing gets resolved. I am terrified of losing my job if I keep asking. I am also the only member of staff who does not get may parking paid for and feel that this is because I am the only woman and part time. Please help as I am so stressed!

Stressed woman working


When your employer agreed to you going part time, they should have looked at the role you were performing and decided whether that role could be made part time rather than just agreeing to your request so that they could pay you less money. If the role is genuinely a full-time role that needs someone covering then your employer should have turned down your request for flexible working at the time and provided a business rationale as to why. Alternatively, your employer should have discussed with you how to ensure that the responsibilities of the role were effectively covered – perhaps by a job share arrangement.

However, as your employer did neither of these and agreed to your request then this now is a legally binding contract between you both. Therefore you should not have to work over and above your contractual hours and your employer should not be forcing it or expecting it. Many people do the odd hour over and above their contractual hours, but this should not become the norm.

You mentioned that you have raised this three times and nothing gets resolved. I think you now need to raise it formally via a grievance which legally your employer has to respond to formally and following a procedure (look at the ACAS website or the www.directgov website which will outline the process to follow to lodge a grievance). If this still does not lead to any discussion or changes then I think that you might have to take this further and get some further legal advice since you might have a claim for sex discrimination. You could talk to ACAS or the Citizens Advice Bureau and see whether they think you need to speak to a solicitor.

All the best.

Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this answer, cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice.

Comments [2]

  • Claire says:

    This is something really helpful for many individuals. I actually like the concept “full time job in part time hours”. Thanks for sharing this detailed guide.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think this is an excellent and balanced reply. Part time jobs are a growing sector of the Uk economy, and should never be seen as a tool for employers to simply pay people less. They are there to help people who need flexible working hours, often due to other commitments such as childcare, age, being a student and so on.

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