Should a part-time worker be paid 50% of a full-time salary?

The Part Time Workers Regulations 2000 state that part-time workers cannot be treated less favourably than their full-time counterparts. In a recent appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) (British Airways v Pinaud), the EAT considered whether a part-time worker working more than 50% of full-time hours, but only paid 50% of a full-time salary was suffering less favourable treatment?

Mrs Pinaud, the British Airways employee at the centre of the case, had varied working hours yet her pay remained the same. To bring a case to the Appeal Tribunal, Mrs Pinaud needed to identify a comparator – a full time employee who can be used as a point of comparison when deciding if treatment has been less favourable or not. In this case, it was found that Mrs Pinaud had worked 53% of the hours of her comparator, yet had only received 50% of the pay.    

Despite BA arguing that there was only minimal variation between Mrs Pinaud’s hours and her comparator’s hours, the EAT found that Mrs Pinaud had received less favourable treatment. 

This case highlights the need for consistency in treatment between full time and part time employees. Employers with a number of part time workers should carefully check both shift patterns and pay to ensure there are no breaches of the regulations.