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How Many Hours is Full-time vs. Part-time?

An analysis of the elements that separate part-time work and full-time work and figuring out which is best for your situation!
By Synkdup Editorial Team  |  7 January 2024
Full Time vs Part Time

Figuring out whether someone should go for a full-time job or a part-time job is a common dilemma among young adults. Technically speaking, there is no universally applicable rule to distinguish them. However, going by general consensus, a 30-40 hour work week is considered full-time and anything below that is part-time.

The dynamics of the job market are something that rarely remains constant. Work practices are always evolving across industries. New fads emerge with time, sometimes on a national level, sometimes even globally.

This article examines the traditional full-time workweek against the rising trend of Part-Time work employment.

What is a Full-Time Job?

A full-time worker typically has only his job as his main source of income. They usually do not have to juggle between any other commitments like college, high school, etc.

Some workers also have side hustles on top of their jobs. For example, a side business that they aspire to make their main job one day.

A common question raised by people is, “How many hours is full-time?” We’ll be examining this in the article.

Within The United States

As per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by the United States Department of Labor, there is no defined limit in terms of working hours for full-time employment.

However, the I.R.S., under its Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.), considers an employee working over 30 hours a week or more than 130 hours a month as a full-time worker.

Outside The United States

In the U.S.A., the number is on the lower end of the spectrum. When it comes to the rest of the world, it varies greatly. In countries like India, it can range from 40-48 hours a week!

Prevalence Of Full-Time Jobs

Full-time jobs are spread out across most industries, be it the corporate world or even physical jobs like construction labor. They are far more common in most industries in comparison to part-time jobs.

Additional Benefits of Full-Time Jobs

Health Insurance

This is among the prime advantages of full-time work. Typically, employers provide a range of plans and then deduct a premium from the salary of the participant.

Paternity/Maternity Leaves

It is becoming increasingly common for employers to offer parental leave for workers following the birth of their kids. They usually last for a few weeks, but sometimes they can last for months.


Certain companies even offer reimbursement for childcare expenses up to a certain amount. There are companies that even have on-site daycare for toddlers.

Potential Drawbacks Of Full-Time Jobs

Harder To Find Work-Life Balance

Due to the greater number of hours required from the employee, it may be harder to find time for other things. Many ambitious workers, at times, struggle to find enough time for their families and children.

This neglect can also sometimes affect their children or spouses in a negative way. Problems at home are never a good sign for an individual’s personal life.

Plateauing As A Worker

Many times, a worker who has a full-time job can end up becoming complacent and losing sight of their passions or desire to achieve more. They may become satisfied with their 9-to-5 and stop dreaming of more.

For example, someone dreams of writing a book one day but starts an office job. Eventually, their workload takes up most of their day, so they give up writing and quit their dreams.

Higher Stress Levels

Working full-time is definitely far more stressful than a part-time job. There are also far higher levels of responsibility that are assigned to a full-time worker than a part-time one.

Plus, there is also the fact that the company has invested more in them and so expects a greater return from them. This may lead to added pressure on the worker, which can cause them to underperform in some cases.

Fear of Taking Risks

Most people with full-time jobs tend to want stability and security. They shy away from taking calculated risks. That’s the key word here, ‘calculated’! One should never blindly take chances without thinking things through.

But on the opposite end of the spectrum, a person should not be too risk-averse either, because then they might not reach their full potential.

The Rise of Part-Time Jobs

It is not like Part-Time work emerged only yesterday or that it was previously unheard of. However, its rapid growth in popularity at present has definitely influenced the job market a lot.

Within The United States

Let’s consider the I.R.S. under its Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was mentioned earlier. Going by their judgment, anything below 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month falls under part-time work.

Outside The United States

In most other countries around the world, standards are also similar. There is not much difference. In some cases, it can fall to around 20 hours a week, or even lower.

Emergence Of Part-Time Jobs

Part-time work is something that was once given less value, but now things have started to change. Part-time work has now grown more in terms of the number of workers and overall stature.

Schooling Commitments and Financial Struggles At Home

Many times, a person needs to work but can't devote enough hours to it due to other commitments. One of the most common reasons is due to education.

The trend of college students (and in some cases, even high school students!) working part-time jobs in addition to their studies is on the rise. This is usually because they come from financially struggling families. Hence, they need to work in order to make ends meet at home.

Rise Of Remote Work, Freelancing, Work From Home, Etc. Post-COVID

A lot of corporate part-time jobs involve digital work, which can be done from anywhere. This is a practice that gained prominence during the late COVID-19 phase, which started in late 2019 and lasted until around early 2022.

With most countries in the world being subject to lockdown, practices like W.F.H. became the best way to counter it and continue production. The pandemic may have subsided, but these modes of labor are still in play.

Many corporate experts consider this one of the best breakthroughs during the Corona outbreak phase. An example of this is graphic design, which can also now be done by freelancing. Another similar case is data entry, which can be done remotely.

Laws Regarding Teenage Labor

The minimum employment age in the United States is 14. This means anyone working below 14 is considered child labor and their employer is punishable by law.

The legal age of adulthood, also referred to as the age of legal majority in the United States, is 18. So anyone who is between 14 and 18 falls into the category of “Teenage Labor”. The laws are slightly different for this category.


Teens in this age category can only work outside of school hours. On school days, they can work up to 3 hours, and during school breaks, it can be no longer than 8 hours a day.

16-17 Year Olds

Those placed in this class have no hourly restrictions; however, the job they choose to work in must not be labeled as hazardous by the Secretary of labor.

Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws

Generally, those below the age of 16 are not allowed to work overtime. However, certain states have their own laws regarding this matter. In such cases, there may be extra restrictions too.

Current Scenario In The Job Market

Although Part-Time jobs have grown massively over recent years, they still have a long way to go before they can match full-time jobs in popularity.

Notice Period

Full-time jobs are generally more secure and also have longer notice periods in most cases. This is both convenient for employers and, in some cases, for employees too.

For employers, it gives them more time to replace the employee if they resign after the probationary period. As for employees, if they get terminated after serving the probationary period, they will have some time to search for a new job.

More Earnings

Since full-time jobs have longer working hours, they almost inevitably offer more income than their part-time counterparts. A full-time job also offers greater bonuses and other incentives. This further adds to their appeal.

More Support From Employers

In modern times, workers are better taken care of than before. Employers are showing more interest when it comes to the physical and mental well-being of workers.

This is especially true for full-time employees, as companies are more invested in them than part-time workers. The reason for more investment in full-time workers is obviously because they offer more value for the company. Hence, companies want to work with them long-term.

What Should You Pick?

The ideal work schedule varies for each individual and depends on multiple factors such as age, socio-economic status, available free time, educational qualifications, and more.

Choose Part-Time if…

One can opt for part-time work when:

  1. Legally, if they are below 16 (and at least 14) there is no other option but part-time work.
  2. They have other commitments to juggle, like school or college.
  3. They need more qualifications to land a full-time job.
  4. If they are young, they don't have the responsibility of a family and can manage with less income.

Choose Full-Time if…

One can opt for a full-time job if:

    1. If they have family responsibilities to take care of, for which they inevitably need more income.
    2. They do not have too many other things to worry about and can make work their main focus.
    3. They are old enough. This usually implies being 18 or older, the usual minimum age at which most workers begin full-time jobs.
    4. They have degrees like Bachelors, Masters, postgraduate diplomas, etc.

Hopefully, the above tips can be of use when determining what type you should opt for.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is 30 hours a week full-time in Canada?

Ans: Yes, in most Canadian companies, working more than 30 hours is considered full-time and working below the aforementioned amount falls under part-time work.

Q: What is better: full-time or part-time?

Ans: There is no right or wrong choice here. It varies based on a person’s situation. There are numerous factors that need to be considered, like age, qualifications, whether or not they have family responsibilities, etc.

Only after careful analysis should one make such an important choice.

Q: How Many Hours is a Typical Work Week in USA?

Ans: In the United States, a typical work week lasts 5 days, from Monday to Friday, for 8 hours a day. This adds up to 40 hours a week, out of which, on average, as per the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees work around 34.6 hours a week.

Q: Can you work more than 40 hours a week in the USA?

Ans: Yes, one can work over 40 hours a week, but they must be paid overtime for their services. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also has provisions for this.

Q: How do you calculate overtime pay?

Ans: According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all overtime work that is approved or ordered must be paid for. The overtime pay can be mathematically determined by multiplying the regular rate of pay by 1.5 and multiplying the result by the total number of overtime hours worked.

Q: Can You Work Two Full Time Jobs in the USA?

Ans: At present, there are no legal restrictions preventing someone from working two jobs. However, one must check their employment contract and gain approval from their current employer.


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