Job positions come in three general different classifications: full time, part time and freelancing or contract positions. Each classification has its positives and negatives, one being that many part time and freelancing jobs don’t include benefits.

But what constitutes a full time or part time job position? Is there a legal rule that can be referred to?

Is There an Official Rule for Part Time vs Full Time Work?

According to a recent study done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a part time job is one where an employee works anywhere from 1 to 34 hours per week.

However, the government’s official definition of a part or full-time employee doesn’t necessarily match up to that perspective. Regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and employer contribution rules, a full time employee is any employee who works a minimum of 30 hours per week or 130 hours in a given calendar month, but even that standard is negotiable based on the size of the company.

Smaller companies aren’t required to abide by that rule. Other than that, there’s no official definition for what constitutes a full-time job vs. a part-time job.

The parameters differentiating a full-time position from a part time one are largely left up to individual employers, and they can define the difference between the two in order to dictate how what benefits are given.

While some employers might indicate a full-time job to be one where you are working a full 40 hours a week, many employers consider a minimum of 35 hours a week to be full time when it comes to dishing out benefits.

For this reason, it’s important to talk with an employer or manager during the interview process so that you know what the company considers full time vs. part time work.

How Many Hours Should I Expect to Work if I Apply for a Part Time Job?

The answer to how many hours you should expect to work if you apply for a part time position will vary based on the employer as well.

Whereas one employer may expect a part time employee to work 15 or 20 hours per week, another position might call on a part time employee to work up to 29 hours per week. That’s just low enough so they aren’t subject to employer shared responsibility provisions or reporting provisions under the ACA.

And smaller companies – those with less than 50 full time employees – might have you work even more hours per week as a part time employee as the ACA doesn’t hold them to the 30-hour per week rule.

What are the Benefits of a Part Time Job?

Before you apply for any part time job you should talk with the manager or other employment rep about how many hours you will expected to work each week if you get the part time position available within their company.

Most people choose to apply for part time positions over full time because they either have other life obligations that prevent them from working full time, or they can’t or don’t want to work full time for some reason.

For instance, you may be applying for a part time job to garner additional income over and above what you earn at your current full time job or other part time position. Or, you may have obligations to care for others, such as children or parents, that limit the number of hours you are available to work an outside job.

Still yet a person may have health or other limitations that prevent them from working an extended number of hours per week.

Where Can I Find a Part-Time Job?

Luckily there are often many opportunities available for part-time job positions. One option would be to check with local businesses either by visiting in person or checking want-ads to see if there is a part-time job position available.

Retail establishments, food service companies and small and large businesses alike may have a need for a part-time employee to fulfill a variety of job responsibilities.

If you are interested in a part-time job that allows you to work from home, there are often options for those types of job positions as well.

Many companies will hire part-time employees to work remotely assisting customers from the comfort of their own homes as a customer service representative.

The types of positions available for a part time worker vary widely and can be matched to many different skill levels and work schedule needs.

Still, other people choose to start a side hustle for additional income that doesn’t require full time work.

While there are many different opportunities for side hustles, it’s important to know that most side hustles are akin to starting your own business in that you will be responsible for keeping track of your income, expenses and quarterly tax payments.

Will I Get Benefits at a Part Time Job?

The answer to this question depends largely on the employer.  Many employers are offering benefits for part time employees that are similar to those working full time for the company. Benefits such as vacation pay, sick leave, maternity (or paternity) leave, health care and more should be discussed during the interview process when you’re meeting with a potential employer.

It’s important to know before you accept a part time job position what to expect in terms of benefits so that there are no surprises later on down the line.

If you are applying for a part time job position that will be your only job position and yet doesn’t include benefits such as health insurance, you’ll need to know how to obtain your own health insurance coverage and your responsibilities in that area according the ACA rules.

Part time jobs are beneficial to many people for a variety of reasons, and there are hundreds of ways to make money working part time.

By analyzing your skills, interests and available time each week, you can find a part time job position or side hustle that is perfect for your income needs and for the way you live your life.

Don’t discount your money-making abilities simply because you can’t or don’t want to find full time work. Take advantage of the many ways to work part time and still bring in income so you can meet all of your financial needs.

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