A part-time employee is someone who works less than hours normally worked in a workplace, e.g. ½ day instead of the normal 8-hour day worked by other employees at the workplace; or 1 day per week instead of 5 days per week, etc.

According to the new s 198(c)(3) part-time employees should on the whole not be treated less favourably than a ‘comparable’ full-time employee doing the same or similar work, unless there is a justifiable reason for the different treatment. A part-time employee should also be provided with access to training and skills development as well as access to opportunities to apply for vacancies on the whole not less favourable than the access applicable to a comparable full-time employee.

Justifications for differential treatment

A justifiable reason for different treatment may include seniority, experience or length of service, merit, the quality or quantity of worked performed and any other criteria of a similar nature not prohibited in law.

This section does not apply if:

  •  the employee earns in excess of the statutory threshold, or
  • the employee is engaged in a fixed term contract that is permitted by any statute, sectoral determination or collective agreement, or
  • an employer employees less than 10 employees or employs less than 50 employees and whose business has been in operation for less than 2 years, unless the employer conducts more than one business, or the business was formed by the division or dissolution of an existing business; or
  • to an employee who ordinary works less than 24 hours a month; and
  • during an employee’s first six months of continuous employment.


Again, this provision tries to protect vulnerable employees and practices that deprive employees of their right to fair labour practices and forces employers to apply principles of equal treatment and parity to those in a-typical employment. The protection provided is similar to those employees appointed on a fixed term basis.


Overall, the amendments are aimed at promoting the achievement of the original objects of the LRA, i.e. ensuring that the employment rights provided for in the Constitution are extended to all employees, particularly vulnerable ones, such as fixed term and part-time employees. Some of the provisions will impact significantly on companies’ employment strategies. However, for the most part employers who use fixed-term and other non-standard forms of employment for sound, business-related reasons, should not experience too much difficulty.


Ulrich Stander & Barney Jordaan

Maserumule Consulting

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