For many years, employers resisted the notion of allowing remote work. But after the pandemic, remote working was brought to the spotlight, and employers were forced to adopt it. Flexible work arrangements have now become the norm, and most companies hire freelancers to work part-time hours.
Recent data from Statista shows that approximately 25 million people were employed on a part-time basis in the US in August 2022. This means that part-time jobs continue to play a huge role in today’s job market.
If you’re a small business owner, you might want to find the right balance between part-time and full-time employees to keep your bottom line in check. In this guide, we delve deep into:
- What part-time hours means
- How many hours is part-time
- The pitfalls and benefits of part-time hours
- The best jobs for part-time
- The best tool to manage your part-time employees
Let’s get started!
What Is Part Time Hours?
Well, there are no clear definitions of what part-time is. Below, we look at what various agencies consider to be part-time hours:
- The U.S. Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t provide a standard definition for how many hours a week part-time is. It specifically states that it’s up to the employer to define what full-time and part-time employment means to the company.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time means working 35 hours or more per week, while part-time is working less than 35 hours per week.
- The IRS guidelines stipulate that part-time employees average fewer than 30 hours per week. However, this only applies to Applicable Large Employers (ALEs), that is, employers subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (popularly known as Obamacare). According to the IRS, an employer with fewer than 50 full-time employees isn’t categorized as an ALE. Generally, the number of full-time and part-time employees your company has affects whether it’s classified as a small employer (SE) or an ALE.
So, how many hours a week is part-time? Most companies schedule part-time employees for 20 to 29 hours a week. However, in some companies, you could work fewer than 20 hours or more than 29 hours and still be considered a part-time worker.
Pros and Cons of Part-Time Work
Working part-time hours can be highly beneficial for both employers and employees. It also has its downsides. Here are some of the top reasons why part-time hours can benefit you:
Improved work-life balance
Employees working part-time can enjoy more time to attend to their personal lives and responsibilities. For example, parents can pick up their kids from school without having to rush or leave work early.
They will also have more time for socializing, engaging in beneficial community activities, enjoying their hobbies, and so on. In essence, part-time work allows employees to improve their overall health and well-being, which in turn, can foster increased productivity at work.
Better work flexibility
One of the biggest benefits of part-time hours is more flexibility. Part-time offers various schedules (discussed below) that allow an employee to attend to other responsibilities.
Whether an employee chooses freelance or contract work, they can decide how many hours per week, weeks per month, and months per year they want to work. What’s more, you get to employ a diverse team to work on small, but necessary tasks.
Reduced costs to your business
Generally, part-time employees will cost less than full-time workers since you hire them only when the need arises. Moreover, you won’t be required to provide them additional benefits that are mandatory for full-time employees, unless it’s a requirement in your state or you’re willing to do so.
This means saving more money that you can redirect to other departments or events.
In addition, considering that the average hiring process in the U.S. takes around 24 days and costs three to four times the employee’s salary, hiring part-timers is a great advantage. The hiring process for part-time employees isn’t as complex and expensive as that of a full-time employee.
High retention rate
When you hire part-time employees, you don’t need to worry about high turnover rates. Since most professionals may not prefer to work full-time, you can easily retain those whom you value.
Furthermore, they are available on demand, meaning you hire them only when you have more work than you can handle.
Allows you to cover busy seasons efficiently
When you have freelancers you rely on to work for you during high peak seasons, it becomes easier to plan your business operations in advance. Maybe your business thrives during summer or winter.
So, instead of hiring full-time employees, you can hire just a few in-house workers to keep operations running and then hire part-timers only when you need an extra set of hands.
The part-time workers will help ease the pressure on your team and enable a more efficient working environment.
Reduced stress levels and burnout
If you have a few workers who usually get overwhelmed with the workload, there’s a high chance they’ll suffer from work-related stress and burnout. On the other hand, part-time employees will have more time to relax and enjoy life outside of work.
What’s more, with flexible schedule options, employees will feel less pressured by deadlines, hence, enabling them to deliver high-quality work.
Improved time management skills
Working part-time entails working fewer hours in a workday. This means you must plan your time carefully to accomplish your targets within those few hours. In other words, it enables you to sharpen your time management skills, which in return, will help you become more productive and efficient in your work.
Lack of commitment
While part-time jobs allow your employees more free time and increased work flexibility, the downside is a lack of commitment to your project. If the employee has multiple clients, there may arise situations where your projects aren’t completed on time, or the quality is subpar.
Wavering loyalty and consistency
The chances of part-timers looking for work elsewhere to supplement their earnings are higher than full-time workers. If they find another gig that pays better than yours, they may leave you short-handed, which can cripple some of your operations.
Difficulty in measuring work performance and working hours
Unless you use a reliable time tracker to monitor hours worked, it can be challenging to measure the overall performance of your employees. A time tracking tool that automatically logs hours worked and captures details like how time was spent ensures accurate payments every time.
It also helps you detect if your part-time workers are wasting time during company time so you can take the appropriate actions.
Fewer advancement opportunities
For part-time employees, there are few (if any) opportunities for advancement, promotions, and raises. Likewise, workers aren’t eligible for workplace perks and benefits, such as health insurance.
Many companies consider full-time workers for promotions or career development opportunities.
What Is a Part-Time Job?
A part-time job is one where the employee works fewer than 40 hours a week. Part-time jobs offer greater flexibility and are an effective strategy that employers use to attract and retain top talent.
Now, you may be wondering, how many hours is a part-time job? As earlier mentioned, employers have full control over the minimum and maximum number of hours for part time jobs.
Either way, part-time employees enjoy more flexible scheduling options compared to full-time employees. That means, they get more time to attend to non-work-related activities or even take on a second job.
This work arrangement may be more appealing to professionals who want more control over their schedule, including:
- Parents of young children
- Older workers
Do Part-Time Employees Get Benefits?
Typically, part-time employees aren’t eligible for benefits like paid sick leave, healthcare, or paid time off. That said, some states require that all workers, including those working part-time, earn paid time off.
In California, for example, the law mandates employees, including part-time and temporary workers, earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked.
Overall, it’s up to the employer to decide which benefits to give to part-time employees.
Do Part-Time Employees Get Overtime?
Since you’re an hourly worker, you’re not eligible for overtime pay, until you’ve worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Take an example where your usual schedule is 25 hours for each work.
If you work more than 30 or even 35 hours, you’re not entitled to overtime and you’ll only receive your regular hourly salary. Suffice it to say, if you are an employer, it’s crucial to be conversant with the FLSA rules governing exempt and nonexempt employees to avoid violating the law.
What Jobs Are Best for Part-Time?
Part-time jobs come in many different forms. Employees can work fewer days or shorter workdays than full-time employees. Depending on the industry, you may offer some of the following part-time work schedules:
- On-call schedule. Companies that need workers 24/7, such as the healthcare field, employ on-call schedules. Employees must remain available to their employer whenever necessary. In this arrangement, there’s rarely a set schedule, and managers can call on employees to report to work.
- Freelance schedule. A freelancer is someone hired on an as-needed basis, meaning they work on specific projects at specific times. Depending on the type of work, a freelancer may work remotely or in an office and usually benefits from greater work autonomy.
- Fixed-time schedule. As the name suggests, a fixed-time schedule refers to a regular, unchanging schedule with part-time hours. It means that the employee’s schedule remains the same week after week.
- No schedule. Certain jobs don’t have set schedules. Instead, they are based on completed tasks, and pay is often based on task completion.
- Unpredictable schedule. Depending on the needs of the job you’re offering, a schedule may be constantly changing.
- Alternate hours. This refers to employees altering their work hours to meet the needs of specific issues going on at home. For example, the employee could work shorter hours to attend to a newborn or an elderly person.
- Split schedule. A split schedule is where an employee works split shifts. For example, an employee may work a few hours in the morning (say 9am-11pm), take a few hours off, and then work a few hours in the evening (4pm-8pm).
These schedules may work well in certain industries and not so well in others. It’s up to you as an employer to determine what works best for your teams.
Now let’s take a look at some of the best part-time jobs:
- Writer: most companies hire freelance writers to provide content for their websites. The freelancers work on various projects and can be paid hourly or per project basis.
- Accountants: an accountant’s primary role is to monitor the day-to-day financial operations of a business. They also analyze company finances as well as prepare taxes. A company may opt to hire an accountant on demand to cater to business needs.
- Graphic designers: these creative professionals are responsible for providing design or digital artwork to companies and usually work in a freelance role.
- Hand laborers: factories, warehouses, and transport companies require people to do the heavy lifting, and that’s where hand laborers come in. These jobs are usually part-time and paid on an hourly basis.
- Software developers: if your in-house workers are becoming overwhelmed with work, your next best option is to hire someone for a part-time position. Most software developers work remotely and can be paid hourly or per project.
- Network administrators: these professionals are tasked with building and maintaining internal networks for organizations to ensure they run efficiently. You may hire a network administrator on demand when you detect issues.
- Editors: an editor can help you plan and coordinate content generation for your websites or other publications. An editor usually works reduced hours, making it a perfect part-time job.
- Home care aides: the elderly, sick, and disabled people require assistance with cooking, cleaning, and other household chores. Since hiring a full-time employee can be costly, part-time health aides come in handy. They report to work for a few hours, perform their duties and leave.
Other best part-time jobs include:
- Online teacher
- Pet sitter
- Virtual Assistant
- Social media manager
- Customer service representative
Part-Time Hours FAQ
Q: What is part-time hours?
A: Part-time hours refers to a part-time position that requires an employee to work less than 30 hours per week. We should point out that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the FLSA doesn’t define full-time or part-time employment. The employer determines what’s full-time or part-time.
However, the IRS defines full-time as working 30 or more hours per week or 130 hours per month.
Q: Should I pay part-time employees overtime?
A: Occasionally, part-time workers may end up working overtime, that is, more than 40 hours per week. This might happen during the busiest months of a business or when a full-time employee is unable to work. Part-time employee overtime is governed by the FLSA rules on exempt and nonexempt employees.
Q: Are part-time workers entitled to benefits?
A: Healthcare coverage is mandatory for most big companies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Other benefits are considered perks. Note that, in some cases, full-time employees aren’t guaranteed benefits from their employers.
That said, generally, employees expect benefits like paid time off, bonuses, and retirement plan options. However, these benefits do not extend to part-time workers, and it’s up to the employer to decide whether to offer them.
Q: What are some common part-time jobs?
A: Traditionally, jobs in the retail, hospitality, and fast-food industries were known to be part-time, and they offered flexible scheduling. However, with the remote work trend continuing to grow, more and more professionals are realizing that working part-time can be as fulfilling as working full-time.
These include graphic designers, software developers, programmers, accountants, health and social care workers, and editors.
Q: What are the minimum hours for part-time?
A: The law doesn’t provide a set minimum number of hours employees can work part-time. It all depends on the employer. You can allow your employees to work fewer hours or fewer days, or pay them per contract basis.
Manage Time and Attendance of Your Part-Time Workers with Ease
In any flexible work arrangement, nothing is as crucial as effectively managing your employees’ time. If you’re looking for a time tracking tool you can rely on, check out Traqq. The platform offers you a simple but effective way to:
- monitor how much time specific tasks take to complete
- monitor workload distribution among your employees to help you tell whether you need to outsource
- track and evaluate overtime for your entire team, essentially making payroll a breeze
- optimize your business and find strategies to boost productivity
- get access to insightful data that will help you predict future hiring needs
The time tracking software also monitors employee time and attendance so you can create or adjust the work schedule to ensure smooth workflow.
Traqq is easily scalable and can fit any work arrangement, from full-time employees and part-time employees to freelancers.