How Many Hours a Week is Part-Time: Understanding Part-Time vs. Full-Time Employment

how many hours is part time employment

A full-time position requires a staffer to work anywhere from 35 to 40 hours per week, on average. And a part-time position usually requires the staffer to work under that 40 hour work week, usually ranging from 30-hours to 35-hours per week, on average.

When applying for “part-time work” or a part-time position, the part-time worker should expect to work less than 35 hours per week, on average, in the United States. A part-time worker works fewer hours than a full-time employee.

How Many Hours is Part-Time Employment

A part-time employee who works under 40-hours per week (usually 35-hours per week, on average, in the United States) is considered part-time. If the employee is working more than 35-hours per week, it may be considered full-time employment.

Full-time employees usually qualify for the following benefits:

The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) is a federal labor law mandating issues like national minimum wage, overtime hours or overtime pay, and child labor. Though, this act doesn’t have clear definitions on part-time employment. But can be helpful in understanding rights as a general laborer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides some insight into the part-time workers of the United States workforce. They define part-time as “working 1 to 34 hours a week” and “does not want to work more than 35 hours or more each week or is unavailable to do so”. And the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) defines a full-time employee as having “at least 30 hours of service per week, or 130 hours of service per month.”

Full-time employees (or sometimes referred to as a salaried employee) may have an easier time filing for unemployment in the event of a company layoff or economic disaster.

Employee Benefits

A major consideration for employees who are considered part-time or full-time is unemployment benefits. Unemployment compensation or an “unemployment benefit” is money paid to those who have recently lost their jobs at no fault of their own (a company layoff, the closing of a business, or other economic disasters).

Part-time employees may still qualify for unemployment benefits depending on the state they live in. For example, in Illinois, unemployment insurance is a statewide government program. A part-time worker is allowed to collect up to 50% of their weekly benefits amounts (gross earnings) from their part-time job.

Part Time vs. Full Time Work Hours (Daily)

It is common for part-time jobs to have a worker on staff for 4 hours per day. When a full-time worker usually works 8-hours per day or more on average.

Part Time vs. Full Time Work Hours (Weekly)

It is common that full-time workers have an 8-hour working day for 5 days per week or 3-4 days per week. A part-time staffer may work anywhere from 4-6 hours per day for 3-4 days per week on average.

Common Questions

Questions from employees and workers.

How many hours a day is 20 hours per week?

Most employers provide five working days per week with two days of rest. On a 20-hour per week part-time job, that is roughly 4 working hours per day.

How many days a week is a part-time job?

Most part-time jobs staff employees Monday to Friday. And staff them for 4 hours per working day to equate to a full working week that is under 40 hours. Anything over 40 hours could be considered a full-time position.

Is 6 hours a day part time?

Yes. Though the average daily working hours for a part-time job is roughly 4 hours, some jobs may require part-time staffers to work more hours than that. As a result, the employer may decide to have a reduced number of working days per week.

If I work more than 40 hours per week, am I a full-time employee?

Because the Affordable Care Act and FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) don’t have strict definitions of what constitutes a part-time employee and a full-time employee, part-time employees who work more than 35 hours per week may still be considered part-time employees on behalf of the employer. This employee may be considered an “FTE employee” or a full-time equivalent employee.

Employed personnel working more than 35 hours per week (hourly worker or part-time employee working part-time hours) and desire to have full-time employment benefits should speak with their employer about reevaluating their employee status.

What is an FTE employee?

An FTE employee stands for a “full-time equivalent”. This is when the employees are scheduled to work 40 hours or more per week. This constitutes the employee being a 1.0 FTE (full-time equivalent). When the employee is scheduled to work 20 hours per week, they are a 0.5 FTE (full-time equivalent). Generally, FTE employees are those who have a work schedule of more than 40 hours per week but do not have full-time benefits. This constitutes the employee working “full-time hours”.

Part-Time Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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