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Part-Time Workers

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the changes in employment law which have affected part-time workers' employment rights; and if he will make a statement.

Changes made to individual employment rights since 1979, which have affected both part-time and full-time employees, are as follows:

qualifying period on unfair dismissal increased progressively from 26 weeks to two years;
qualifying period for written reasons for dismissal increased from 26 weeks to two years;
dismissal for non-membership of a trade union made automatically unfair in all circumstances;
maternity provisions amended to strengthen notification requirements, exempt very small firms in certain circumstances, and introduce a new right to time off for ante-natal care;
industrial tribunal procedures amended to provide for pre-hearing assessments and power to introduce pre-hearing reviews and require deposits; widen rule on award of costs; remove requirement to provide written reasons for decisions in all cases; amend provisions on the basic award; change the onus of proof for unfair dismissal; and require tribunals to take into account the size and administrative resources of the employer;
paid time off for trade union officials restricted to duties in respect of which the union is recognised;
guarantee pay provisions changed from fixed to rolling quarters;
employers with less than 20 employees exempted from the requirement to provide note on disciplinary rules.