Bridge Insights

The Differences Between a Full-Time and Part-Time Job

Sep 7, 2020

Beyond the obvious difference in hours worked, full time and part-time jobs are very distinct. Whether you are shopping employee benefits, thinking of taking on multiple jobs, or if you are easing your way back into the workforce, how you build your schedule makes a difference.

Here is what you need to know about full time and part-time jobs:

What Makes Someone a Full-Time Employee?

It may be tempting to define a full-time job as one where you work 32-40 hours a week, and that is (sometimes) eligible for overtime. Although jobs that have this work schedule are full-time jobs, this is not what makes them full-time.

In actuality, there is no universal definition of full-time employment. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define full-time employment nor part-time employment and leaves that decision up to the individual company. So, why do we think of working 32-40 hours a week as a full-time job? 

It’s because even though the FLSA does not define a full-time employee, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does. Non-compliance with the ACA can result in a penalty for businesses, so, from an operational standpoint, it’s easier to follow these guidelines.

The ACA defines full-time employment as follows: 

  • “For purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions, a full-time employee is, for a calendar month, an employee employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week, or 130 hours of service per month. “

So the quick, general answer to, “What is a full-time job?” is a workweek that is more than 30 hours, but if you’re looking for an accurate answer, it’s best to ask prospective employers where they draw the line between full-time and part-time employees. 

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Are Part-Time Employees Eligible for Benefits?

If you have a job offer for a part-time job, it may not be clear if you are eligible for employee benefits. Again, there are a lot of different factors that go into what a business is required to do, (size, classification, etc.), so it is best to ask those questions to a prospective employer on a case-by-case basis. Though it might not be as comprehensive as the full-time employee package offered, many businesses do offer some sort of employee benefits package to their part-time employees.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the difference between full-time and part-time job status can prepare you to enter the workforce. If you are someone who is looking to take on multiple jobs, knowing what employee benefits are associated with different work hours can help you build out a work schedule that aligns with your lifestyle.


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