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How Many Hours Is Part-Time?And are you entitled to benefits and sick leave?


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  3. September 3, 2020

How Many Hours Is Part-Time? And are you entitled to benefits and sick leave?

By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza How many hours a week is part-time? How many hours constitutes part-time is usually set by your employer, but typically, part-time is anything less than 30–40 hours per week.  In fact, many government agencies define part-time differently. 

  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “does not define full-time employment or part-time employment. This is a matter generally to be determined by the employer….whether an employee is considered full-time or part-time does not change the application of the FLSA.”

  • And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), part-time is 1–34 hours per week.  

  • Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a full-time employee is one who works “an average of less than 30 hours per week.” A part-time employee is “any employee who works an average of at least 30 hours per week for more than 120 days in a year.” 

Do part-time employees get benefits? Generally, it's up to the employer whether they provide benefits, like health insurance and paid time off, to employees. It’s more common for employers to provide benefits to employees who work full-time than to provide benefits to employees who work part-time. However, under ACA, employers that fall under the employer mandate are required to provide health insurance to workers who work at least 30 hours per week, or 130 hours per month, to avoid paying penalties.   Read more: What Are Fringe Benefits & How Can You Get More?

Payroll administrator Julia Spahiu explains that some states require employers to provide benefits to part-time employees.  For example, the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law entitles workers to one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a ceiling of 40 hours for the year. In Arizona, under Proposition 206, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, says employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with ceilings determined by the number of employees at the company.  

Additionally, there are some federal mandates for part-time employee benefits under very specific circumstances, like Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors, which requires “federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to employees who work on or in connection with certain federal contracts. The rule will allow these workers to use paid leave if they are sick, need to take care of a sick family member or must see a doctor or take a family member to a medical appointment. Workers may also use paid sick leave for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.” And the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, which states, “contractors and subcontractors must pay their laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area.” Read more: 15 Companies Offering ‘Returnship’ or Return-to-Work Programs How much does part-time work pay? While full-time jobs are often salaried, part-time work in the U.S. is typically compensated hourly. However, there are different types of part-time employees, which we’ll discuss below, and depending on the arrangement, you may be paid by the hour, by project, per diem, etc. 

If you’re a nonexempt employee, by law, your employer has to pay you $7.25, which is the federal minimum wage. Many states also have minimum wage laws, and your employer has to pay you whichever rate—state or federal—is higher. You can check your state’s minimum wage here.

Do part-time employees get overtime pay? “Yes, part-time employees are entitled to overtime if they work over 40 hours in a week. Some states' overtime is calculated when worked above eight hours a day as well,” Spahiu says. Under the FLSA, nonexempt employees are entitled to time-and-a-half pay over 40 hours per week, but the U.S. Department of Labor website points out “some exceptions apply under special circumstances to police and firefighters and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes.” Additionally, some states will have their own overtime laws, and like minimum wage laws, workers are entitled to whichever rate is higher. How old do you have to be to work part-time? The FLSA sets wage, hours worked, and safety requirements for workers under the age of 18. And according to the FLSA, generally, you have to be 14 years old to work, though there are limits for the number of hours someone under the age of 16 can work.  There are also some jobs younger workers cannot hold, due to hazardous work conditions, like some agricultural jobs or jobs that require workers to drive a car or operate machinery. And some environments that require employees to serve alcohol, like restaurants and bars, may require workers who hold certain jobs to be 18 or older, though regulations vary by state.

Read more: Welcome to Your First Day of Work: Here’s What to Expect 

Types of part-time work

Permanent  Permanent part-time employees have a regular schedule and regular responsibilities in a company. If you work part-time for a restaurant or local retail store, you’re likely a permanent part-time employee. Permanent part-time employees are often paid hourly.  Contract Contractors are people who do work for a company for a specific period of time for a specific amount of money. Contractors can work full- or part-time and are usually paid hourly. They are not usually provided with benefits, like insurance and paid time off, and are responsible for paying their own taxes and social security, etc.  Freelance Freelancers are self-employed individuals who do work for a company or business on a contract basis. This means the freelancer is responsible for paying their own taxes, getting their own health insurance, etc. Freelancers are a type of contractor, they simply tend to work on one-off projects or work with the company for shorter periods of time.  Temporary Temporary employees, sometimes called temps, work for a company for very short periods of time, sometimes for just a day. Temps can be employed full- or part-time by the company directly or by an employment agency, but they are not usually provided with benefits. Some temp jobs are temp-to-hire, which means that the employee may be hired full-time if the temporary arrangement is a success. Read more: Behavioral Interview Questions: How to Answer and Prepare

About our source Julia Spahiu is the founder and CFO of Edi and Sienna Group. As a financial strategist Julia has been able to help businesses grow exponentially nationwide. Julia specializes in the hair salon and construction industries.

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