What is a part-time job?

Last updated: October 4, 2023
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Heath Alva
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What is a part-time job?
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Let’s say you just found the perfect job listing.

It’s close to where you live, you meet all the requirements the recruiting team is asking for, and the company seems great.

But there’s one caveat — the listing says this opportunity is part-time.

How many hours is part-time, anyway? Can a part-time job be enough to pay the bills, or will this dream opportunity provide you with no more than a couple of hours of work a week?

It all depends on what you’re looking for in a job and what the employer means by ‘part-time.’ The truth is that part-time employment can be structured in several different ways, and not all part-time jobs are created equal.

Let’s discuss what makes a job part-time or full-time and which type of job is best based on your situation. We’ll also look at seven jobs that you can work part-time.

What is part-time work?

So what’s part-time work, legally speaking? It’s important to know what makes you a part-time worker to decide if it’s a viable option for you.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, doesn’t differentiate between full-time and part-time work. So, according to them, there’s nothing specific that makes a job full-time or part-time.

However, working more than 40 hours a week is considered overtime.

On the other hand, the IRS and Affordable Care Act (ACA) do define full-time employment, differentiating it from part-time work.

A full-time employee works at least 130 hours a month or 30 hours a week. Under this definition, and according to federal law, part-time work is anything under 30 hours per week.

This means that if you’re working 29 hours a week, you’re considered part-time.

Businesses with over 50 employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance, family and medical leave, and other federally required benefits to full-time workers. But businesses that have fewer than 50 employees aren’t obligated to offer benefits.

Companies with over 50 full-time employees need to provide health insurance to at least 95% of their full-time staff.

Both part-time and full-time workers can be employees. On the other hand, freelance or project-based workers aren’t considered employees and aren’t entitled to benefits.

The number of hours a freelancer works doesn’t matter. They are in charge of their own taxes, and a client can’t enforce a schedule, method of work, or work location.

What is the minimum number of hours for a part-time employee?

There’s no standard minimum for part-time employees in most states. Part-time employees can work anywhere from one to 29 hours a week. However, it is common to work around 20 hours a week.

Pros and cons of working part-time hours

Now that you know how many hours are considered part-time work, let’s look at the pros and cons of working part-time.

Pro: More flexibility for work-life balance

Working fewer hours means you can spend more time with your friends and family, doing activities you love, or working a second job.

When you don’t need the extra hours, a part-time job gives you more time to balance everything else going on in your life.

Con: Inconsistent schedule

You won’t necessarily have a standard work schedule with a part-time position.

Because of this, it can be hard to establish a routine and make plans, especially if you only know your hours a week in advance or less.

So if your life requires a regular schedule, it may be better to find a full 9-to-5.

Pro: Income without the full-time commitment

If you have a partner who has a high-paying job, or if you live with your parents or roommates, you may not need to commit a full 30 to 40 hours every week to a job.

But it’s still important to generate some income to save for retirement, a down payment for a mortgage, going back to school, or simply funding your lifestyle.

A part-time job can earn you those funds without forcing you to spend too much time working.

Con: No vacation time or insurance

Some jobs offer vacation time or health insurance to part-time employees, but most don’t. They’re not required to provide benefits to part-time staff, so you probably won’t have any of these perks.

So if you’re planning that vacation getaway or can’t afford out-of-pocket expenses for medical bills, this may be a deal-breaker.

Pro: Ability to go back to school or get a second job

By working part-time, you have room in your schedule for doing other things like going back to school, learning a new skill at home using tools like Skillshare, or getting a second part-time position that helps you gain experience and earn more money.

Any of these could open you up to more job opportunities down the road.

Con: Can be up to 29 hours a week

Some companies may want an almost full-time employee without having to pay for employee benefits.

In this case, they’ll ask you to work 29 hours, not more, to keep you at part-time status.

This doesn’t give you a lot of time for other endeavors and still doesn’t allow you to qualify for benefits.

Pro: More experience

If you want to switch industries, you can get experience with a part-time job. Even if there are no full-time positions in your area, you can still start a new career.

Working even a few hours per week can give you valuable work skills. You’ll also meet others in the field, which could lead to a full-time job in the future.

Con: You may feel less supported

Not in the office every day? If you have a part-time schedule, you may feel like you’re not part of the team. You could also miss out on meetings and important updates.

Part-time workers may also feel obligated to answer calls and emails on their days off. You can overcome this issue by finding an employer with a supportive company culture.

Do part-time workers get overtime‌ pay?

The rules can vary between states. However, most employers aren’t obligated to pay overtime to those with part-time roles unless they work more than 40 hours a week.

This over-40-hours rule applies to both full-time and part-time employees. So even if you usually only work 20 hours a week, you won’t be entitled to overtime until you hit that 40-hour mark.

If you do get paid for overtime, it’ll be your regular hourly wage plus an extra 50%. So if you get $10.00 per hour, for instance, your overtime rate would be $15.00 per hour.

Even though it’s not required, some employers may pay extra if you’re a part-time worker and exceed your normal hours.

10 examples of part-time jobs that don’t require a college degree

Here are some real examples of part-time jobs that don’t require you to have a college degree. These can also be full-time work.

1. Customer support representative

As a customer support representative, you’ll help customers resolve issues via email, phone, or in person.

Customer support reps process orders and accept cash and card payments. They may also deal with refunds and exchanges.

You’ll also be responsible for upselling products and services and doing data entry relevant to your customer interactions.

Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent

  • Computer skills

  • Customer service skills

The average wage for a customer service representative in the U.S. is $17.75 per hour.

2. Movers

Want to help people move their furniture and other items from one home to another? If you’ve got the strength for it, you could be a mover.

If you get the job, you’ll move furniture and other heavy objects.

While some movers work for themselves, you can also get a job for a moving company. You’ll have the opportunity for a flexible schedule in this role, including part-time hours.

Requirements:

  • Ability to lift heavy objects

  • Valid driver’s license

  • Patience

The average salary for a mover in the U.S. is $14.58 per hour.

3. Warehouse worker

Warehouse workers move and organize inventory in a warehouse environment. In some cases, they also operate machinery to move more inventory at once.

If you get the job, you’ll use computer programs to manage inventory. You should be confident working at heights as well as bending and stretching.

Warehouse workers load and unload trucks and check the condition of merchandise.

Requirements:

  • Ability to lift heavy objects

  • High school diploma or equivalent

  • Special licenses may be required

The average salary for warehouse workers is $17.36 per hour.

4. Administrative assistant

As an administrative assistant, you’ll perform administrative tasks for other employees or managers.

The job description includes answering phones, scheduling appointments, and typing documents.

Filing, taking minutes, data entry, and social media management may also be part of your daily duties. It’s not uncommon for these team members to have a part-time arrangement.

Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent

  • Computer skills

  • Communication skills

  • Typing skills

The average wage for an administrative assistant in the U.S. is $19.08 per hour.

5. Construction worker

In this job, you’ll work on construction sites. Projects can include domestic, commercial, and industrial buildings. There may also be renovations or demolitions.

As an entry-level construction worker, you won’t be allowed to work without supervision. Your day can involve digging trenches, erecting fences, transporting materials, and unloading trucks.

Heavy lifting, climbing ladders, and working in tight spaces can also be part of the job description.

Requirements:

  • Self-motivation

  • Various licenses and certifications

  • Physical fitness

The average wage for a construction worker in the U.S. is $18.04 per hour.

6. Delivery driver

You can work part-time delivering food from the restaurant to the customer using a vehicle or bicycle. You can also deliver packages, groceries, and merchandise.

Some delivery drivers are employed with regular hours. For example, you can apply for a role at Amazon or UPS.

If you prefer, you can work as a delivery driver on your own time, using services like Uber Eats or Doordash. Keep in mind, though, that gig workers are independent contractors and don’t usually get workplace benefits.

Requirements:

  • A valid driver’s license

  • A clean driving record

  • Time management

  • Physical fitness

The average hourly wage for a delivery driver in the U.S. is $17.62.

7. Housekeeping cleaner

A housekeeping cleaner performs cleaning services. This can include sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning windows, dusting, and taking out the trash.

This can be a part-time job or something you do on a freelance basis.

While you can start your own business, there are companies that employ cleaners. For example, you can apply for a position at a hotel, gym, or school.

Requirements:

  • Cleaning experience

  • Attention to detail

  • Physical fitness

The average wage for a housekeeping cleaner in the U.S. is $15.35 per hour.

8. Bartender

Bartenders work behind bars, serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. They take orders, prepare beverages, and sell snacks.

If you get a job as a bartender, you’ll process cash and credit card payments. It’s a busy work environment, and you’ll spend long hours standing and walking.

These are often part-time positions, and night shifts may be required. Bartenders work in a range of settings, including hotels, bars, clubs, cafes, and restaurants.

Requirements:

  • Over 18 years old

  • Bartending experience

  • Certifications

  • Attention to detail

The average wage for a bartender in the U.S. is $12.67 per hour.

9. Cashier

Cashiers are responsible for scanning merchandise and accepting cash and credit card payments.

If you work as a cashier, you’ll need to greet customers and answer questions. Cashiers also pack bags and make sure all visitors have a positive shopping experience.

The role can involve extended periods spent on your feet. The hours per week can vary, but many cashiers choose a part-time work schedule.

Requirements

  • Cash-handling skills

  • Communication skills

  • High school diploma or equivalent

The average hourly rate for a cashier in the U.S. is $13.11.

10. Personal care aide

Personal care aides can be part-time or full-time employees. If you have compassion for others, this could be a great role for you.

Personal care aides work with people who have disabilities. They can visit people in their homes, group homes, or healthcare facilities. As a personal care aide, your daily shifts can include making beds, transporting people to appointments, and washing dishes.

Personal care aides can also help clients bathe, get dressed, and brush their teeth.

Requirements

  • High school diploma or equivalent

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification

  • First aid certification

  • Manual dexterity

The average wage for a personal care aide in the U.S. is $14.15 per hour.

Where to find a part-time job

Are you a job seeker looking for a new challenge? You can find a range of opportunities on our job board.

Whether it’s a position that requires only a few hours per month or more consistent work, you’ll find it on Jobcase. Don’t forget to create a free account and set up job alerts.

Choose the best job opportunity for your needs

The difference between part-time and full-time work isn’t always clear cut. In some cases, part-time jobs are full-time jobs in disguise.

But part-time jobs are perfect when you need to supplement another income or don’t need a full-time income to make a living. As long as the job fits your needs and your lifestyle, part-time jobs can be just as beneficial as full-time jobs.

Are you looking for more openings for part-time gigs? Find part-time jobs during your job search using Jobcase. Before you go, visit our resource center for more articles.

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Oleksandr Gamaniuk
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Thank you for sharing!

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