Part-time Definition

Part-time describes an employee who works a reduced schedule compared to their full-time counterparts. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define part-time employment (part-time) as contrasted with full-time employment. Individual employers typically define for their own companies the number of hours worked per week that designate an employee as part-time or full-time.

Part-time Extended Definition
While the Department of Labor makes no distinction between part-time and full-time employment for the purpose of coverage under the FLSA, the difference can be an important one for the individual worker.

Some employees may prefer to work part-time because part-time employees typically have fewer hours worked per week and less required responsibility than their full-time counterparts. But, the trade-off frequently means a lower hourly wage than full-time employees performing similar tasks for the same company. Part-time workers may not be eligible for certain benefits like health insurance, paid vacation time and sick time, or retirement savings programs.

For workers not concerned with the lack of benefits for part-time employees, such as those who already have a separate full-time job or who want to work while taking a full-time course load at college, part-time employment is a useful way to supplement one’s income.

Hiring part-time employees holds certain benefits for the employer as well. In industries that experience busy periods and slow periods in a day or week, having two part-time employees on staff rather than a single full-time employee allows the company to have twice as many people on hand to cover busy periods. When slow economic periods last longer, businesses might cut some workers back to part-time to save on payroll expenses while keeping workers on staff for when economic conditions improve.

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Last Updated By

Rachel Blakely-Gray | Apr 28, 2023

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