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What Are Part Time Jobs?

There's no universal definition of a part-time employee. An employee that works 32 hours a week could be considered full-time for some purposes and part-time for others. Part-time employment can overlap with other worker classifications, such as contract, temporary or per diem.

Part-Time Definition

The U.S. Department of Labor doesn't define full or part-time employment. The Internal Revenue Service, on the other hand, defines part-time employees as any that work less than 30 hours a week. Individual employers and states may define part-time differently for benefit purposes. For example, in California, part-time status applies to employees that work less than 40 hours a week. In Ohio, it applies to anyone who works less than 80 hours in a two-week pay period.

Implications

A part-time classification can impact the benefits a person gets on the job. Most notably, some employers are required to provide health insurance benefits to full-timers. For that purpose, it has to be someone working at least 30 hours a week. Employers may also choose to only offer voluntary benefits such as vacations, paid time off or paid sick days to full-timers. Part-time employees are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs the federal minimum wage, overtime pay and other compensation guidelines for employers.

Seasonal, Temporary and Permanent

A permanent part-time employee works year-round while seasonal part-time employees are only brought in during busy seasons. For example, a lifeguard that works during the summer or an accounting assistant that works during tax season may be part-time, seasonal employees. Temporary part-time employees also work for a limited duration, but it may not coincide with a season.

Contract and Per Diem

Part-timers can also be contract or per diem employees. A contract employee may agree to work for a short period of time like a temporary one, but may be kept on until a specific task is completed. Per diem part-timers work as needed, often to cover for sick or absent employees. They typically have flexible schedules.



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