How Many Hours Is a Part-Time Job?

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years.

An employee takes an order.

How Many Hours Per Week is Part-Time?

There are a few key differences between full-time and part-time jobs. For example, depending on the employer, part-time positions may not qualify for the same perks and benefits as full-time positions. Fewer hours per week typically results in more flexibility, however, allowing you to work additional jobs or invest in your education.

There are no official federal guidelines that determine whether an employee is considered part or full-time. While the Fair Labor Standards Act establishes legally binding requirements for hours, overtime and wages U.S. businesses must follow, this law does not specifically state how many hours per week an employee must work to be considered full-time.

recognizes individuals working at least 35 hours per week as full-time employees, but this number is for statistical purposes only with no legal meaning. Many employers do, however, use this number as a guideline when developing their policies.

Pros and cons of part-time hours

There are many factors to think through before choosing a part-time position. While you should certainly consider the company, role, commute and compensation, it’s also important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages common among part-time positions.

Pros of working part-time hours

Greater flexibility. Part-time jobs are typically more flexible than full-time positions and sometimes allow you to create your own schedule. This is beneficial if you have other obligations such as caring for a loved one, working another job or attending school.

Supplemental income. Part-time jobs are a good source of additional, steady income that can supplement other full or part-time jobs. You might also acquire a part-time job to support your lifestyle while pursuing other goals like starting your own business or going to school.

Cons of working part-time hours

What Is a Part-Time Job?

Generally, a part-time job is one that requires a person to work fewer hours per week than an employee who is considered full-time. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers determine how their employees are classified. That said, there are a variety of ways employers (and the law) can do so.

Legal Definitions

The definition of a part-time job can vary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics considers workers who work less than 35 hours a week as part time. However, that’s simply for statistical purposes. The Internal Revenue Service, on the other hand, considers more than 30 hours per week or more than 130 hours a month as full time. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act uses the same 30 hours per week standard as the IRS for eligibility for benefits under the act.

Company Policy

Many employers incorporate a definition of a part-time employee into their company policies, which will designate the number of hours per week part-time employees work. For example, Amazon has three categories it uses to determine which employees are eligible for certain benefits: part-time workers work 20-29 hours; reduced-time employees work 30-39 hours; and full-time employees are those who work 40 or more hours per week.

Part-Time Job Work Schedules

Part-time work schedules vary. When you’re hired for a part-time position, the hours and days you’ll be expected to work may be specified in advance (often through the job posting), or your schedule may be flexible and be set on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis as determined by your employer.

Before agreeing to part-time work, it’s important to understand what is required of the role and if it fits you. Below are some ways to figure out how many hours you’ll be working when you’re hired for a part-time position.

  • Review the job posting: Carefully read the job description before you apply for a position. You may be able to tell how flexible the job is, and how many hours and days you are expected to work per week.
  • Know your availability: You may be asked when you can work (days/hours) on a job application, so know your availability before you apply. Many employers are flexible and will work around the schedules of students, parents, retirees, and people with other time constraints and commitments.
  • Ask during a job interview: If a schedule isn’t mentioned in advance, it’s acceptable to inquire about the work schedule during a job interview if the interviewer doesn’t ask you about your availability first. Have a list of when you’re available (and when you won’t be) to share. Flexibility is always a plus because it makes it easier for the employer to schedule coverage.

What are the disadvantages of working part-time?

Working more or fewer hours than expected

Often, part-time position hours can be unpredictable and cause a potentially erratic work schedule. Because your employer isn’t obligated to provide a set amount of hours, your working hours may fluctuate from week to week. This can cause scheduling challenges or affect your paycheque. Ways to overcome this disadvantage are to find a part-time position with consistent working hours or speak with your supervisor to express your concerns.

Eligibility for benefits

Typically in Canada, part-time employees don’t qualify for health, insurance or company retirement benefits. If you’re working a part-time position and a full-time job, then you are likely covered with your full-time company. However, if you only work part-time, then you can ask your employer about eligibility for healthcare and life insurance or any retirement benefits that may be available. In Canada, all employers must pay into Employment Insurance (EI) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). These deductions come off of an employee’s paycheque and submitted on your behalf. However, additional benefits are not guaranteed for part-time workers. Be sure to ask about this during your interview process.

Fewer advancement opportunities

While a part-time position can expand your professional network and your transferable skills, the chance of you moving up in a company decreases. Typically, management and supervisory roles require a full-time schedule. This means that unless you work a full 35 to 40 hours a week, they might overlook you for a promotion. If you’re willing to move into a full-time role, have an open and honest discussion with your employer and let them know you’ll consider full-time employment for the right opportunity.

Feeling left out as part of a bigger team

If you enjoy the social aspects of work, then a part-time position may make you feel left out. As a part-time schedule always requires fewer hours than full-time employees, social gatherings and team-building activities may not present themselves as often. This can lead to feeling disconnected within the group. This does not affect everyone equally, and if you’re introverted you may love the part-time relationship with your colleagues. However, it’s important to know that you may feel disconnected if you value socialization and work friends.

Part-time job examples

If you’re interested in working a part-time job, begin by looking at how many hours you want to commit per week and the type of work you want to do. Assess your skills and abilities and then begin your job search by looking on job boards

Administrative assistant

An administrative assistant offers support within an office environment. Filing, preparing documents, answering emails and data entry are typical aspects of the role. Many organizations hire a part-time administrative assistant during a busy time of the year, during special projects or to cover vacation or extended leave of staff. Administrative assistants may also freelance their services virtually, then known as virtual assistants, allowing even more flexibility of hours and working location.


A bookkeeper maintains financial records for a company or organization. Using either a manual or electronic accounting system, they organize and record payables and receivables, complete bank account reconciliations, write payment cheques and submit tax and other mandatory documents. Bookkeepers may be self-employed and offer their services to other companies or may work for one organization.

Graphic designer

A graphic designer creates visual content and collateral for businesses and organizations. The graphic content includes social media posts, advertising materials, product and packaging concepts and print materials. Graphic designers may be self-employed while working on several projects or directly employed by a company, such as an advertising firm.


If you have a fluent understanding of a secondary language, then a part-time role in translation is something to consider. A translator takes written material in one language and translates it into another. Having a sound foundation in a particular area, like medical translation, is in even higher demand. Companies often hire translators to create accurate translations of documents, articles and reports, offering freelancing and project-based work.


A tutor specializes in a particular area of education, such as elementary school, high school, university or college-level subjects. They work individually or with small groups to help students understand the subject and improve their comprehension and grades. A tutor may also provide pre-exam preparation. Tutors work part-time hours in the evenings and on weekends for educational organizations, tutoring businesses or are self-employed.


Writers commonly work part-time, freelance or are self-employed. A writer can work for various industries and organizations to offer content from general articles and novels to precise technical writing. Blogs, magazines, newspapers, social media managers and website developers all hire writers to create unique content and documents. Becoming a writer is an ideal job for someone who wants to work part-time with flexible hours and in any location.


Tips on how to successfully scale a business—from 4 real-life companies

Using cloud solutions can take some of the burden off of your in-house IT team, since your provider is responsible for the software, and allow them to focus on supporting your employees instead of a bunch of different apps and tools.

Tips on How to Scale Your Business From Successful Entrepreneurs

The difference between a small business or startup and a successful and profitable company typically boils down to time and experience. But, there are certain factors that play a big part in how those companies grew to be successful — things like timing, having the right people, focus, and intensely hard work.

Even though statistics, researchers, and the media tell you that the odds are stacked against you and the probability of failing is high, there are plenty of opportunities to succeed. One of the best ways to steel yourself against the hard times and tough decisions is to look at successful entrepreneurs and CEOs who have already blazed those trails.

They’ve learned the hard lessons and are willing to share knowledge that you can apply to fuel sustainable growth. Here are some insights from a few of them who learned how to overcome the odds and successfully scale their businesses.

Keep Processes as Simple as Possible

Successful business leaders are often so because they learn how to be good at simplifying things. They take the complex and make it less complex. This philosophy and approach to business is used in everything from product launches to developing workflows.

Complexity sucks time. It requires more meetings, more explanation, more refined communication with the customer, more people in the workflow, and more cogs in the machine. Complexity slows businesses down and inhibits growth.

“As businesses grow and scale, the key dynamic that slows progress and, at the extreme, impairs a business, is the creeping effect of complexity,” says Arnab Mishra, President and COO of Transera. “Complexity rears its head as products evolve, organizations grow, and business strategies change. CEOs of growing companies need to be aware of the impacts of growing complexity, and take actions to continuously simplify the operations and strategy of the organization.”

“CEOs that are most effective in reducing complexity tend to have a clear and well-communicated vision of the business’ goals, an ability to lead employees towards that vision, and a willingness to change course when it becomes clear that certain strategies are not providing the required results.”

“Simplicity is really important,” says Dan Horan, CEO of Five Acre Farms. “It’s got to be simple, and sometimes to make something simple you have to really, really study everything about it. It might turn out to be complex, but you have to present it simply, particularly when it comes to people: when people buy something, they don’t want a lecture.”

When is it time to scale? 3 signs to look out for

You might be asking yourself: “Should I scale or should I grow?” (as The Clash didn’t quite sing). It’s a tough decision—74% of startups fail due to premature scaling, so you have to pick the perfect time to take the plunge. There are a few key indicators that your business is ready:

When employees can’t handle the workload. Even though you have a strong cash flow due to repeatable sales, you might find yourself turning down new opportunities or letting customers down because your team is swamped.

When long-term business goals are unattainable. You may have smashed your short-term goals, but what about the future? If long-term success looks impossible (or really challenging) because you don’t have the right people or resources, it’s time to consider scaling.

Tips for how to scale a business

When we talk about scaling a business, we’re referring to strategies for growth that align with your original business vision while managing the impact of growth on your company. Implementing the following tips for how to scale a business form a sustainable scaling strategy you can rely on.

1. Know your purpose

Scaling a business is reliant on creating customer loyalty . The best way to create customer loyalty? Focus on employee loyalty first so they can spread the word and pass their enthusiasm for your company on to those they serve. Employees are loyal to companies whose purpose and values align with their own so they can feel their careers have a higher purpose. Learning how to scale a business will ultimately fail if you don’t first start with your “why” of going into business in the first place. Knowing your purpose and successfully communicating that to your team is the way to make them raving fans of your company and drive growth in an organic manner .

2. Develop a business map

Most entrepreneurs have a business plan, but have you thought about developing a business map ? Business maps are an effective, comprehensive way for scaling a business and meeting its goals. Creating a business map prompts you to ask foundational questions such as: What business are you really in? What was your reason for getting into this business in the first place?

Business maps encourage and challenge you to look at where you came from, define your purpose for starting this business and look ahead: What’s next for your business and where does your company ideally end up? Having this sort of documentation of your goals is a crucial part of learning how to scale a business and will be a helpful reference for when times get tough.

3. Perfect your product or service

With their focus on massive growth, many business owners forget to ensure that their product or service is solid. They often figure that they will just fix it after getting more users or more distribution. However, if you don’t work out the kinks and get rid of the bugs now, they will only get worse when you are scaling a business. This is why learning how to scale a business before pursuing growth will save you headaches and money in the long run. The early years of your business is a time to listen to feedback, find issues and improve your offerings until they meet your customers’ expectations. When you focus on creating a product or service that is of excellent quality, many of your growth issues will take care of themselves. Working on the issues in your first version also helps you assume more control when you scale your business because you will have a deeper understanding of what you and your customers want and need your product or service to be.

4. Create thoughtful processes and operations

How to scale a business doesn’t just involve growing upward and outward – it also means ensuring that your internal processes and operations are functioning seamlessly. The last thing you want is to start losing customers you’ve worked so hard to acquire because some part of your infrastructure is weak. While perfecting processes, keep in mind that some of the systems and processes that work when your company is in its early stages won’t work on a massive scale. This is where adaptability and flexibility come in, as you may need to tweak processes as you grow. Establishing a framework of what works and keeps your business running smoothly in the early years is key to scaling a business because it forms a solid core. While you can always improve on this core as growth occurs, it’s much more difficult to go back and create it once you’ve grown past a certain level.

5. Establish your team

It may seem obvious that establishing a strong team is a prerequisite for scaling a business – you can’t handle everything on your own. Developing a management team that is flexible and can grow with the company is an important component when it comes to learning how to scale a business.

Your team is not just about your employees, though. To master how to scale a business sustainably, you must work on developing external relationships with suppliers, partners and other outside organizations who will be part of your overall growth.

One of the best things about operating a small business is the ability to establish intimate relationships with your customers. You get to give them the experience that you want from beginning to end. And the goal should always be to create a raving fan – someone who will be a staunch advocate for your brand and help you scale your business by spreading the word.

Remember, the community that you create around your business can bolster your foundation so that you have even more strength and leverage as you grow. Having a solid network is so important it’s part of the definition of scaling a business. So take the time to really build the “team” that will propel you into the future.