Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 85–98 | Cite as

“Comparable Workers” and the Part-Time Workers Regulations

Matthews v. Kent and Medway Towns Fire Authority [2006] U.K.H.L. 8
  • Olivia Smith


The House of Lords majority decision in Matthews v. Kent and Medway Towns Fire Authority overturns the narrow interpretation given to key aspects of the Part-Time Workers (Protection of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations’ core comparator mechanism in the lower tribunals and the Court of Appeal. It is a contextually astute judgment, which recognises the reductionist implications of an overly narrow approach to establishing comparability for the purposes of a less favourable treatment claim on the grounds of part-time work. The positive aspect of this decision remains overshadowed, however, by the fact that this interpretation provides little consolation to the large majority of part-time women workers whose disadvantage and inequality remains outside the scope of the Regulations’ protection.


comparators comparable full-time workers less favourable treatment part-time workers Part-Time Workers Regulations 


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I am grateful to Dimitra Nassimpian for casting a critical eye over this note. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law and GovernmentDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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