Let’s face it, California law governing the terms and conditions of one’s employment is not exactly a model of clarity. Human resources professionals often use terms and phrases which might be unclear and confusing to employees. What does it mean when an employee is exempt? What does it mean when an employee is not exempt? How many hours does one have to work to be considered a full-time employee? Is it 40 hours? Do 35 hours qualify? How about 32 hours? What differences are there between employees who are full-time versus those who are part-time, in terms of rights and compensation?

Questions like this often arise in the minds of folks who are entering the workforce or starting a new job, and those who feel that their rights may have been violated.

Wage hour laws are complex and oftentimes confusing. Since there are both state and federal laws, regulations, and orders which often use the same or similar terms to mean different things, one can easily misinterpret the law. The best way for an employee to get answers to questions like those listed above is to consult with an employment lawyer experienced in handling wage hour issues. An employment lawyer (akopyanlaw.com/employment-law) can identify specific issues and analyze the facts and the law surrounding those issues.

How Many Hours A Week Must One Work to be Considered Full Time?

The answer to this question is “It depends on why you are asking.” For instance, for the Affordable Care Act, 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.

On the other hand, to determine what constitutes overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the benchmark is 40 hours per week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees who work 35 or more hours a week are full-time, and those who work less are considered part-time employees.

What makes things even more confusing is the fact that employers oftentimes have their own unique policies and procedures, which create their own separate classifications, categories, and definitions that may not necessarily be identical to those provided by law.

Thus, depending on the purpose of the inquiry, an employee who works the exact same number of hours in a given week might be considered full-time in one context and part-time in another.

Does It Even Matter?

Yes. There are many important differences between full-time and part-time employment. For example, employees working more than 1,250 hours per year, an average of 24 hours per week, are eligible for FMLA leave, which means that many part-time employees would not qualify for this benefit. Voluminous encyclopedic treatises have been written regarding the differences between full-time work and part-time work, which are too many to include in one blog. Therefore, an employee who thinks his or her rights may have been violated should contact a wage-hour attorney to find out more.

Contact Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C.

Employees in Southern California can contact Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. to talk to an experienced attorney that practices employment law. We offer a complimentary case evaluation and contingency fee services. Our case results and testimonials speak to our expertise.