Heath Alva
Community Specialist
Community Specialist
Posted June 7, 2021

How many hours a week is considered part time?

Learn how many hours a part-time job is and what the difference is between full-time and part-time employment.
Heath Alva
Community Specialist
Community Specialist
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How many hours a week is considered part time?
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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 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, 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 will also look at seven jobs that you can work part-time.

What is part-time work?

So what is part-time work, legally speaking? It’s important to know what makes you a part-time worker to decide whether or not 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 is 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 have a definition of full-time employment compared to part-time work.

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

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

Businesses with over 50 employees need to provide benefits to employees performing full-time work. But businesses that have fewer employees than the required threshold of 50 aren’t obligated to do this.

Those companies need to provide health insurance to at least 95% of their employees who are considered full-time and working more than 30 hours a week.

Both part-time and full-time workers are considered employees. On the other hand, freelance or project-based work doesn’t require employment.

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

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

There is no clear minimum to be a part-time employee in most states. Part-time employees can work anywhere from one to 29 hours a week, though 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 is part-time work, let’s consider 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.

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Con: Varying schedules

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 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 9-to-5.

Pro: Income without the full-time commitment when you don’t need it

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 30–40 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 having to spend too much time working.

Con: No vacation time or insurance

Some jobs may offer you vacation time or health insurance even if you’re employed on a part-time basis, but they have no obligation to do so.

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: You can go back to school or get a second job for extra income

By working part-time, you open yourself up to the possibility of going back to school, learning a new skill at home using tools like Skillshare, or getting a second part-time job if you find a dream job that only offers a few hours a week.

This will open you up to several 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.

7 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 help customers resolve issues via email, phone, or in-person. You’ll also be responsible for upselling relevant products and services and doing data entry relevant to your customer interactions.

Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent

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. This can be done on a freelance basis or by working for a moving company.

Requirements:

  • Ability to lift heavy objects

3. Warehouse worker

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

Requirements:

  • Ability to lift heavy objects
  • High school diploma or equivalent in some cases
  • To operate machinery, some special licenses may be required

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4. Administrative assistant

As an administrative assistant, you perform administrative tasks for other employees or managers. Working as an administrative assistant is also a great opportunity to go freelance if that’s what you’re interested in.

Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent

5. Construction worker

In this job, you’ll work on construction sites to build various projects, such as homes, commercial buildings, and more. As an entry-level construction worker, you won’t be allowed to work without supervision.

Requirements:

  • Ability to lift heavy objects
  • Various licenses and certifications

6. Delivery driver

You can work part-time delivering food from the restaurant to the customer via a vehicle or bike. If you want, you can even do this on your own time, using delivery services like UberEats or Doordash.

Requirements:

  • A driver’s license if a motor vehicle is required
  • Some companies will require a clean driving record

7. Housecleaner

A housecleaner performs cleaning services for homeowners. This can include sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning windows, dusting, and taking out the trash. This is also a part-time job that you can perform on a freelance basis.

Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent is an advantage, not a requirement.

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.

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