TL writes: I’m going to be relying heavily on seasonal staff for the Christmas period. They will be part time employees and with this in mind I need to know do I treat my staff any differently because they are also temporary? Finally do I still need to issue them with a contract of employment and are they entitled to any holidays?
Part time employees enjoy the same statutory rights as full time workers and regulations provide that employers also give equivalent contractual benefits. Your part time workers are entitled to a contract of employment and should also be given itemised pay statements; are entitled to national minimum wage and lunch breaks etc in the same way as your full time staff are too.
All employees become entitled to receive a written contract of employment after they have been with you for one month, and they must actually receive it within two months of starting work. So their entitlement to a written contract depends on how long they will be working for you. However, to avoid any potential misunderstandings about the terms and conditions of employment, you should aim to give all new starters a written contract at the start of employment during any induction period.
You should always aim to treat all your staff in the same way otherwise you risk grievances being raised or even discrimination claims.
However, any contractual benefits you offer to your full time staff do not have to be provided in full to the part time staff, and entitlements can be reduced pro-rata to the amount of time per week that the part time staff work for you. For example, if you give a contractual attendance bonus and you have someone who works 2.5 days a week, they only need receive half the bonus that a 5 day week worker receives.
Part time staff are entitled to holidays but again their full entitlement should be calculated on a pro-rata basis. The current statutory minimum holiday entitlement is 28 days for a 5 day week worker so someone working 2.5 days a week would only receive 14 days for a whole year.
As your Christmas staff will be working only for a fixed term period, you would again reduce the holiday entitlement to reflect this.
Fixed term staff also have protection in employment law and shouldn’t be treated any less favourably than permanent staff.