I am looking for advice regarding contract changes at work. Full time is currently 40 hours, but is being reduced to 37.5 hours per week & staff are retaining the same salary. However, when part timers enquired whether we would receive pay rise/work hour reduction to maintain the pro rata balance, we were told nothing changed for us i.e. hours/salary no change. We are unsure as if we are doing 20 hours out of 40, the ratio will change if it is 20 hours out of 37.5. A full-time person on the same salary would gain an hourly rate increase, but part timers remain on the old hourly rate effectively! Are we confused or can we argue we are at a disadvantage?
To summarise, at present both full-time and part-time employees in comparable roles receive the same hourly salary. The business plans to reduce the working hours of your full-time colleagues from 40 hours to 37.5 hours, but their salaries are not changing, which in effect means they will receive a higher hourly salary rate. In comparison, part-time employees’ hours are not changing and there is no change to the hourly rate which means in practice your salary rate will now be lower than the rate paid to full-time employees.
You are unsure if you can claim that you, as part-time employees, are being disadvantaged by this treatment.
The answer is yes, it appears so from these facts and provided the full-time staff are employed by the same business and you are all doing the same or broadly similar work to one another. Employers are not permitted to treat part-time employees less favourably than comparable full-time workers because of their part-time status, unless that treatment can be objectively justified. Less favourable treatment on these grounds is unlawful and could in some cases constitute sex discrimination too, depending on the sex of the employees. I suggest you raise your concerns with the business via a formal grievance. If the situation is not resolved, take legal advice and consider bringing a tribunal claim against the business.