Intro: In the modern workplace, the boundaries between part-time and full-time employment can sometimes blur. But can employers legally compel part-time employees to work full-time? Let’s explore this question in detail.
Can An Employer Force A Part-Time Employee To Work Full-Time?
In the United States, the primary right in this matter is the right to receive payment for the time worked. If your employer wishes to transition you from part-time to full-time, that is within their discretion. Likewise, you have the prerogative to decline and choose not to continue working for that employer.
In the absence of a union or other contractual agreement, the principle of “at-will” employment typically applies. This means you have the freedom to decide whether to remain employed or not, and your employer can terminate your employment if you refuse to switch to full-time.
The information provided here is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This response does not establish an attorney-client relationship or constitute a solicitation to offer legal advice. If you disclose confidential information in a private message or comment, there is no obligation to maintain its confidentiality or refrain from representing conflicting interests. It is essential to consult with a licensed attorney in the relevant jurisdiction before taking any actions that could impact your rights. If you believe you have a legal claim, seek immediate legal counsel to ensure you do not miss any applicable deadlines for filing your claim.
Can a part-time employee be forced to work full-time UK?
I understand that you were initially recruited on a part-time basis slightly over a year ago. However, your employer now wishes to transition your role to full-time or expects you to resign because they consider your job to be full-time. They argue that your part-time position is redundant.
Unless your employer has a contractual right to make such changes (which is unlikely), they cannot alter your role from part-time to full-time without your consent.
If your employer attempts to modify your terms and conditions of employment without your agreement, you have several options. You could continue working under the new terms and conditions while making it clear that you do not agree with the change.
Subsequently, you could file a claim for breach of contract. It is improbable that you would be able to demonstrate any financial losses resulting from the breach of contract. As a result, your only remedy for the breach would likely be a declaration that the variation constituted a breach your employment contract or an injunction preventing your employer from breaching the contract.
Another option would be resign and pursue a claim for constructive unfair dismissal. Unfortunately, this avenue would only be available to you once you meet the requirement of having two years of continuous employment, as it is necessary to submit this claim at an employment tribunal.
If your employer terminates your employment due to your refusal to accept the change in working hours, you would have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim at the employment tribunal. However, once again, you would need to fulfill the two-year continuity of employment requirement for this claim.
Nevertheless, your employer should honor your contractual notice entitlement, and if they fail to do so, you would have a wrongful dismissal claim. Additionally, your employer mentioned redundancy.
However, an increased need for working hours does not constitute a redundancy situation, although is possible that your employer mistakenly believes otherwise. In any case, you are not legally entitled to a redundancy payment until you have completed two years of continuous employment.
It generally recognized that a requirement to work full-time instead of part-time could potentially amount to indirect sex discrimination, as women tend to have more family responsibilities that make full-time work challenging. However, the requirement would not be considered discriminatory if your employer can objectively justify.
In your situation, your employer may be able to justify the need for full-time hours based on business growth and your team’s success in securing new business.
When contemplating the transition from a part-time to a full-time role, your employer should clearly communicate their objectives and explore whether there are any less discriminatory alternatives to achieve them.
For instance, they could consider job-sharing or dividing a full-time position into two part-time roles as potential ways to avoid indirect discrimination against you.
As a first step, I recommend submitting a grievance stating your disagreement with your employer’s proposed change in working hours and expressing your belief that it constitutes discriminatory treatment based on sex.
Depending on how your employer handles your grievance, you should then consider filing a claim for sex discrimination. This claim must be submitted to the employment tribunal within three months of the discriminatory act, which, in your case, would be either i) the alteration of your terms and conditions of employment from part-time to full-time if you remain an employee, or) the date of your dismissal for refusing to transition to full-time.
Is 30 hours considered full-time in NY?
The definition of full-time employment in New York City is not provided by the United States Department of Labor. Instead, it is determined either by the IRS and the Affordable Care Act or, in some cases, by employers. According to the IRS and the Affordable Care Act, a full-time employee is someone who works 30 hours or more per week or hours or more per month.
However, this definition only applies to companies classified as Applicable Large Employ (ALE) by the IRS. If you work for a small company with fewer than 40 employees, you may not fall under the ALE category and may have different criteria.
Despite the variations among companies, the average worker in New York City typically works 34 hours per week, which aligns with the guidelines set by the IRS and the Affordable Care Act.
Is 30 hours considered full-time in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts lacks a legal definition for full-time or part-time employees. Please refer to your employee handbook to find your employer’s specific definitions of full-time and part-time status.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary:
- Employee: Refers to an individual who works under an express or implied contract of hire for another person (the employer), with the employer having the authority to control the specifics of the work performed.
- Full-Time Employee: Describes an individual hired work at least the standard number hours in a workweek, as determined by the employer or statute, typically ranging from 35 to 40 hours.
- Part-Time Employee: Refers an individual hired to work fewer hours than the standard number a workweek, often significantly fewer, as defined by the employer or statute.
- Probationary Employee: Denotes a recently hired employee whose abilities and performance are being evaluated during a trial period of employment.
- Seasonal Employee: Represents an employee engaged to work only during specific times of the year when a business expects a cyclical increase demand
Is 30 hours a week full-time UK?
A part-time worker is an individual who works fewer hours compared to a full-time worker. While there is no fixed number of hours that defines full or part-time status, typically, a full-time worker will work 35 hours or more per week.
It important to note that an employer cannot legally compel a part-time employee to work full-time unless there exists a valid contract or agreement stating otherwise. Part-time employees have the right to uphold their agreed-upon work schedule and cannot be forced into additional hours without their consent.