What is a Part-Time Job?

There is no set number of hours that one works every day or week that deems their role a part-time job.  The label of being part time or full time comes from how many hours per week you are expected to work based on whatever your employer wants and how they may designate employment status.

Here is a guide on the process of how businesses define part-time jobs, and why it might affect part-time employees.

What is a part-time job?

Generally, a part-time job is working fewer hours per week and full-time job is required to work more. The Fair Labor Standards Act states, employers decide how their employees will be classified. However, there are many way employers can do that.

Legal Definitions

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who work less than 35 hours a week are considered part time, but that is only for statistical reasonings. In contrast, the Internal Revenue Service, says more than 30 hours a week and more than 130 hours a month is a full time position.  30 hours per week is also the standard for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act used for benefits under the act.

Company Policy

To be on the safe side, employers tend to include the definition of a part-time employee within the company’s policy book, which states the number of hours per week a typical part-time employee works. For example, Amazon has three different levels of positions: Part-time works 20-29 hours; reduced-time works 30-39 hours; and full-time works 40 hours or more. Based on where the employees may land, determines their benefits.

Part-time work schedules

Part-time schedules are different everywhere you go. Depending on the employer, it may specify in the job posting how many hours they require you to work. But along with that, your schedule may be flexible meaning it changes on a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis which will be determined by your employer.

Benefits and Perks of a Part-Time Employee

Occasionally, part-time employees will receive benefits. While some are provided by law, employers might also provide some extra benefits. The benefits a part-time employee might receive form the company usually depends on what their full-time employees receive. Although if you do receive benefits, companies are usually generous with them. Publix, the grocery store, has a set list of benefits available to all eligible associates. These include group health, dental, and vision plans. Full-time employees receive additional benefits of paid holidays and vacations.

Some benefits are mandated, meaning they are required by either federal, state, or local laws. For example, someone who works a minimum of 30 hours a week is protected by the Affordable Care Act which requires the employer to provide a source of health insurance.

Family and Medical Leave

According to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, employees who have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in one year (about 24 hours a week) before taking unpaid time off, has the option to take a job-protected leave.

Family leave programs are common in some states as well. For example, in New York State, for employees who have worked less than 20 hours perf week, after working a non-consecutive 175 days, are eligible to take a paid family leave.  

Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment benefits are administered on state level so depending on the state you work in, eligibility for partial unemployment changes. Your eligibility for unemployment compensation will also depend on your employment history.

Workers Compensation and Disability Insurance

Through federally administered programs, if a worker is injured or experiencing a serious medical illness might be eligible for workers compensation. Guidelines go for this also vary between states. But in most states all employees are eligible for benefits if something happens to them within the work place.

When it comes to disabled workers, there are federal and state programs that provide benefits. However, some states will require disability coverage whether that is short-term, long-term or both.

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