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How Many Hours Is Part-Time | Your Questions Answered

Manager wondering how many hours is part-time

If you’re facing the prospect of hiring a part-time employee, you’re also likely struggling with the issue of how many hours is part-time. It’s an important question to answer because it depends largely on the way you classify your employees.

Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer that defines how many hours is part-time. That makes it difficult for you as a manager because there’s very little guidance on the matter. But that lack of guidance and a definitive answer means that you have the freedom to set part-time hours in a way that works for your business.

In this article, the management experts at Sling answer all your questions about the part-time/full-time distinction.

How Many Hours Is Full-Time?

This may seem like a strange place to start when discussing how many hours is part-time, but the definition of full-time work is the foundation on which everything else is built.

So how many hours is full-time? Again, there’s no definitive answer — at least legally speaking. Standard practice is 40 hours per week, but that stems from the 1940 amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that set limits on how many hours employees could work (in this case, 40).

What that meant was simply that businesses could only require their employees to work 40 hours per week. If they worked more, they were entitled to receive overtime pay.

The nice thing about this lack of a set standard that quantifies full-time work is that it gives you the freedom to set your own number (as long as it doesn’t exceed 40 hours per week). Some businesses and government agencies have adopted lower numbers, like 35, 32, and even 30 hours per week.

Now that you understand how many hours is full-time, we can investigate the part-time question.

How Many Hours Is Part-Time?

Part-time workers

Again, there is no definitive, legal answer that establishes how many hours is part-time for all businesses. It depends on what you set as the standard for full-time work. If you chose 40 as full-time, a part-time work schedule would be one where your employees work less than that number.

Based on this concept, you could schedule your employees for 20 hours, 30 hours, 35 hours, even 39 hours and they would still be considered part-time.

That doesn’t mean that you should schedule your part-time employees for one hour less than the full-time standard. If you do, your employees will likely feel like they’re working too much for too little.

7 Common Questions About Part-Time Employees

1) What Are The Advantages Hiring Of Part-Time Employees?

When you define how many hours is part-time, keep in mind these potential business benefits:

  • Lower costs: Part-time employees are less expensive.
  • Diversity: Hiring part-time employees gives your business more of an opportunity to assemble a diverse team.
  • Flexibility: Your business can more easily respond to changes in workload with part-time employees.
  • Recruitment & Retention: Part-time work is often more family-friendly because it demands less time on the job. This is viewed as a benefit by many employees and can increase your recruitment and retention.

2) What Are The Disadvantages Of Hiring Part-Time Employees?

Defining how many hours is part-time can also introduce some disadvantages for your business. The most common are:

  • Recruitment costs:  Finding multiple part-time employees is sometimes more expensive than finding a single full-time employee.
  • Training: Managers may have to spend more time supervising and training part-time employees.
  • Commitment: Part-time employees can be less invested in the business and less engaged in their work.
  • Knowledge & skill: Part-time employees usually have less knowledge, skill, and experience (for the simple fact that they don’t work as much). You can remedy this with plenty of training.

3) Do Part-Time Employees Receive Benefits?

Potential employee researching how many hours is part-time

Benefits are one of the main distinctions between full-time employees and part-time employees. As a general rule, part-time employees do not receive benefits like:

  • Health insurance
  • Retirement
  • Stock options
  • Paid time off
  • Education expenses
  • Childcare reimbursement
  • Fitness stipend

Benefits such as these — and even who receives them — vary from business to business. Some businesses offer their part-time employees a few of the benefits mentioned above.

4) Are Part-Time And Full-Time Jobs Taxed The Same?

Taxes are the same regardless of how many hours employees work. You must withhold income taxes and Federal Contributions Insurance Act taxes (FICA) from every paycheck.

Your business is also responsible for paying unemployment taxes and worker’s compensation benefits for both full-time and part-time employees.

5) How Do You Pay Part-Time Employees?

Part-time employees are usually paid by the hour. You set an hourly wage and then track their work hours using an analog or digital time clock. At the end of the pay period, you multiply the hours worked by the hourly wage, deduct any taxes, and write the check.

Full-time employees are a bit different. They are often salaried, which means they get paid a set amount of money each week regardless of the number of hours they work.

6) How Can You Find Part-Time Employees?

Business people researching how many hours is part-time

Finding part-time employees doesn’t have to be difficult. The simplest and most effective methods include:

  • Targeting potential employees with Facebook
  • Asking your current employees to spread the word
  • Putting up signs and flyers
  • Partnering with nonprofits
  • Using job board websites
  • Adding a ‘Careers’ page to your website

However you find potential employees, be sure to conduct a thorough interview to make sure they’re right for your business.

7) What’s The Best Way To Schedule Part-Time Employees?

Sling's shift feature

The best way to schedule part-time employees is with software like Sling. With Sling, you can group your employees as full- or part-time, create the schedule, and then use the powerful filters and artificial intelligence to make sure they’re working the right number of hours.

All this is possible on a single, easy-to-read screen. Nothing could be simpler for organizing your team than the Sling suite of workforce management tools.

Make It Clear How Many Hours Is Part-Time In Your Business

The best place to define how many hours is part-time for your business is in your employee handbook. That way, each team member is clear on the maximum number of hours they can plan on working each week.

Once you’ve established how many hours is part-time, review this information with all new hires during the onboarding process. When you include this information in your face-to-face or phone interview, you avoid any confusion surrounding the part-time distinction.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit today.

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