To state the obvious, part-time means you don’t work as many hours as people who have a full-time job. Full-time is usually around 40 hours a week, so part-time is usually less than that.
But sometimes part-time can be different for different jobs, so it’s important to ask your boss how many hours you’ll be working. Some companies might consider anything less than 30 hours per week part-time, while others might say it’s less than 35 or 37.5 hours.
What Does the U.S. Government Say About Part-Time Hours?
The US government doesn’t have a set definition for part-time work or a specific number of hours that makes it part-time. It’s up to each employer to decide how many hours they consider full-time or part-time.
But, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does define full-time work for the purpose of employer-provided health insurance. Under the ACA, a full-time employee is someone who works an average of at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. If you work fewer hours than that, you’re considered a part-time employee and aren’t eligible for employer-provided health insurance.
Due to this ACA requirement, a clear distinction has been made regarding the number of hours per week that define a part-time employee…30! That’s what most large employers are going to use to classify their employees as either part-time or full-time. If you’re labeled part-time, they are possibly not going to want you to work more than 30 hours per week.
Also, at the risk of making this issue more confusing, you should know that the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) uses the following classifications in their surveys (although they warn that these aren’t legal definitions):
- “Full-time workers are those who usually work 35 or more hours per week.
- Part-time workers are those who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week.”
So there you have it. Check with your employer to see how they classify part-time employees as that’s what matters most.
Related: 23 Best Part Time Jobs With Benefits
That Time I Thought I Had a Full-Time Job But Didn’t
I once had a job that I thought was full-time, but it turned out to be just part-time. I was so excited to finally have a stable, full-time job after months of searching. I eagerly accepted the offer and showed up on my first day ready to work.
But as the weeks went by, I noticed that my schedule wasn’t quite as full as I thought it would be. I was only working a few hours here and there, and sometimes I would go entire days without any shifts. After a less than 20-hour workweek I started to get a little worried and decided to ask my boss about it.
“Oh, didn’t we tell you? This is a part-time position,” my boss said, matter-of-factly. I had failed to ask that question in the interview.
I was shocked. How could I have missed that crucial detail? I guess I was so excited about finally landing a job that I didn’t bother to read the fine print.
In the end, it all worked out. I was able to pick up a few extra shifts at another part-time job and I eventually found a full-time position that was a better fit for me.
Related: 9 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Well
FAQs: Common Questions We Get on Part-Time Hours
Is 20 hours a week part-time?
Well, it’s not exactly a full-time job, but it’s not exactly a part-time job either. It’s a ‘part-time-ish’ job. You know, like how a zebra is a horse-ish animal.
As we mentioned above, there isn’t a strict definition of what constitutes a part-time job, as it can vary depending on the employer and the industry. However, a common benchmark is working fewer than 30-35 hours per week.
With that in mind, 20 hours per week could be considered part-time, depending on the specific job and the expectations of the employer. It’s a bit on the lower end of the part-time spectrum, but it’s still less than a full-time workload. I hope that helps clarify things a bit!
How many hours a week is part-time for a teenager?
Teenagers aren’t treated differently when it comes to defining how many hours a week is part-time. See the full answer above. Teenagers do, however, have limitations on the total number of hours they can work per day and week. But that answer is beyond the scope of this article.
How many hours is part-time a day?
Part-time vs Full-time is usually determined based on the number of hours worked per week, not day. But if you take the 30 hour per week standard and divide it by the number of days you plan to work, then you’ll get a rough estimate.
How many hours a week is part-time in Texas?
Texas has no law that regulates what is or what isn’t a part-time employee and how many hours they must work. Like the federal government, they leave it up to the employer to define the number of hours required to become full-time vs part-time.