Equal pay - the law and best practice

Equal pay and part-time work


A pay practice that treats part-time workers less favourably than comparable full-time workers is likely to be indirectly discriminatory against women, as more women than men work part time.

Unless an employer can objectively justify the pay differential or practice, it will be unlawful. It is unlikely that an employer could justify a different basic hourly rate for full-time and part-time workers.

In most cases where a part-time worker is paid less (pro-rata) than a full-time worker, the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations (NI) 2000 would also apply. These ban the less favourable treatment of part-time workers (male or female) unless it can be objectively justified.

The exclusion of part-time workers from an occupational pension scheme has been held to be indirectly discriminatory and unlawful.