Employees may work part-time under an award, an enterprise agreement or under a part-time work agreement which has been designed to suit their individual needs. Many individuals enjoy the flexibility of part-time work, while many businesses reap the benefits of offering part-time employment.
Part-time employees work less hours than full-time employees and receive all the entitlements of full-time employees but on a proportional basis.
Due to its flexible nature, part-time employment is the preferred option of many employees and employers. Part-time employment can permit the employee to combine work with raising a family, study, sport or other leisure activities. It is suitable for mothers returning to the workforce to supplement the family income; older workers seeking to transition more slowly into retirement; and employers seeking a more operationally flexible workforce, due to changing economic conditions.
How are employees classified as part-time?
The hours of permanent employees are predictable. The difference between part-time and full-time employees is the number of hours they work. Both categories of employee receive the same remuneration, annual, sick and long service leave but for the part-time employee, it is on a pro-rata basis.
Permanent (including full-time and part-time) employees are classified differently to casual workers. Casual employees work irregular hours and receive fewer entitlements.
The National Employment Standards (NES) are set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and comprise 11 minimum entitlement standards of employment. All Part-time contracts of employment, whether or not they are based on an award, have to cover the NES. Together with pay rates in your award (if applicable) and minimum wage orders, the NES makes up the safety net that cannot be altered to the disadvantage of the employee.
Ensure your Part-time employees are aware of their employment status and avoid any misunderstanding by defining each parties rights with a Compliant Part-time Employment Agreement.