Bartz Law Group

Employee Rights Advocates

What Is Full-Time vs. Part-Time in California?

What Is Full-Time vs. Part-Time in California?

While California does not define part-time hours, full-time work typically involves 40 or more hours per week. Part-time employees generally receive fewer workplace benefits compared to their full-time counterparts. Nevertheless, federal regulations stipulate that individuals working over 30 hours per week may qualify for healthcare benefits, and those working more than 19.5 hours a week may be eligible for retirement benefits.

Do California Labor Laws Define Full-Time Work?

According to California labor laws, there is no specific legal definition of full-time work. Instead, determining full-time status is usually left to employers’ discretion. While some companies consider 40 hours per week full-time, others may have different thresholds. This lack of a standardized definition allows employers flexibility in establishing their policies regarding full-time work.

What Benefits Do Full-Time Workers Enjoy that Part-Time Workers Do Not?

Full-time workers typically enjoy several benefits that may not be available to part-time employees. These benefits can vary depending on the employer, but common ones include:

  • Health Insurance: Many employers provide health insurance coverage to full-time employees, ensuring access to medical care and potentially reducing out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Paid Time Off (PTO): Full-time workers often receive paid vacation days, sick leave, and holidays, allowing them to take time off without sacrificing income.
  • Retirement Plans: Some companies offer retirement plans, such as 401(k) programs, to full-time employees, providing opportunities for long-term financial security.
  • Employment Benefits: Full-time workers may be eligible for additional employment benefits, such as life insurance, disability insurance, and employee assistance programs.

These benefits contribute to the financial well-being of full-time employees and provide a sense of stability and security in their professional lives.

What Rights Do Part-Time Workers Have in California?

While part-time workers may not enjoy the same benefits as their full-time counterparts, they still possess certain rights protected under California labor laws. These rights include:

  • Minimum Wage: Part-time employees are entitled to at least the state’s minimum wage for their work hours. California’s minimum wage is currently $15.5 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees.
  • Overtime Pay: If part-time workers exceed 8 hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek, they are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage.
  • Rest and Meal Breaks: Part-time employees are entitled to rest and meal breaks based on work hours. For every 4 hours of work, they are entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break and an unpaid 30-minute meal break if their shift exceeds 5 hours.
  • Protection from Discrimination and Harassment: Part-time workers are protected from workplace discrimination and harassment based on race, gender, age, disability, and more, just like their full-time counterparts.

These rights ensure that part-time employees are treated fairly and equitably, promoting a respectful and inclusive working environment.

What if My Employer Is Misclassifying Me as a Part-Time Employee?

Misclassification can lead to the denial of benefits and rights you are entitled to as a full-time employee. It may also result in wage and hour violations, such as unpaid overtime or inadequate compensation. Top employment lawyers in California can help you assess your situation, determine your correct employment status, and take appropriate legal action if necessary.

How Do Federal Laws Define Full-Time Work?

While California labor laws do not provide a specific definition of full-time work, federal laws offer some guidance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) defines a full-time employee as someone who works an average of at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month for a given employer.

This definition primarily applies to eligibility for employer-sponsored health insurance coverage under the ACA. However, federal and state definitions may not always align, and employers must comply with both laws.

While full-time workers enjoy various benefits, part-time employees still possess important rights protected by labor laws. If you suspect misclassification or need legal guidance, consulting with employment lawyers can provide the necessary expertise and support.