The term “regular hours” can mean several different things, but most often refers to the usual hours that employers expect their employees to work. When an employer runs payroll, they usually must select from several different hours types: regular hours, overtime hours, holiday hours, etc.
Regular hours usually align with the hours that the company is open for business. Employees receive a specific set salary or hourly pay for work completed during regular business hours. Generally, employees are classified differently depending on how many regular hours they work, and this classification can also determine what benefits, if any, they receive.
Regular hours for full-time employees
An employee is considered full-time if they work a standard workweek, which is generally defined as the maximum amount of regular hours per week. In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines a regular workweek as 40 hours a week. Any employee who works over that amount of time must be paid overtime, which must be calculated as at least 1.5 times the employee’s hourly pay.
While a standard workweek is usually eight hours a day Monday through Friday, some businesses offer a four-day workweek that adds an extra two hours to every day. These businesses, which include some federal and state offices, consider “regular hours” to be 10-hour days. In return for these longer work days, employees receive a three-day weekend.
Full-time employees are usually eligible for all benefits the company offers, including health insurance, vacation time, and sick pay.
Regular business hours for part-time employees
Part-time employees are those who work fewer than 35 regular hours a week. Many consider 20 hours to be the standard for a part-time employee, although they may actually work less or more. Part-time employees are generally compensated at the same hourly rate as full-time employees or at a salary calculated as a percentage of a full-time employee. Part-time employees may work only mornings, only afternoons, or two-and-a-half days a week, depending on the business.
Part-time benefits are not offered to employees very frequently.
Regular work hours for a business
The regular work hours for a company may vary, depending on the nature of the business. For example, the regular business hours for an office may start when the building opens at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. and include a one-hour break for lunch. In this case, employees working full-time would work eight regular hours a day, and all employees would work the same shift.
On the other hand, retail stores may have regular hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. In this case, employees would man the establishment in different shifts. Because the business is open 13 regular hours a day, each employee is only required to work part of that day.
Note that the FLSA does not actually define the amount of working hours an employee can put in. Employees may, then, work as many hours as they want or the company allows them to, just as long as they are compensated correctly.
Some businesses have a looser definition of regular work hours. They may offer employees a flexible work schedule, allowing them to come into the office a few hours earlier and leave a few hours later, or work from home part of the time. This type of flexible schedule has gained popularity, especially since employees in a number of different roles can telecommute efficiently.
Flexible workweeks vary from company to company. Some companies state that employees must work during specific hours, but they may also shift some of their hours earlier or later depending on their schedule. Others provide total flexibility. Either way, this change from regular hours to flexible hours varies from employer to employer.
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This article is updated from its original publication date of February 9, 2015.This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.