Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA
Short answer: According to California law and 10 California employment law firms, part-time hours typically refer to working fewer than 40 hours per week for an employer in CA.
|Element of Part-Time Hours
|Hours Per Week
|Part-time employees typically work fewer than 40 hours per week.
|Part-time workers may have limited access to certain employment benefits compared to full-time employees.
|Part-time schedules can vary widely, offering flexibility for employees with other commitments or preferences for shorter work hours.
|Part-time employees may still be eligible for overtime pay if they work more than a certain number of hours in a day or week.
|Part-time workers are entitled to certain labor rights, such as minimum wage, meal and rest breaks, and protection from discrimination.
|California labor laws provide specific regulations for part-time employment, including wage and hour laws.
California boasts a robust set of labor laws designed to protect the rights and well-being of workers. These laws apply to both full-time and part-time employees. However, the specifics of how these laws affect part-time workers differ based on the number of hours worked and other factors.
One important aspect of California labor laws is the minimum wage. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the state has been incrementally increasing the minimum wage, reaching $15 per hour for large employers. This rate applies to both full-time and part-time employees, ensuring that part-time workers receive fair compensation for their efforts.
In California, overtime rules are designed to prevent employee exploitation. Part-time workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than eight hours in a single day or more than 40 hours in a week. Understanding these regulations is essential to avoid labor law violations.
Part-time employees in California also benefit from labor laws that mandate meal and rest breaks. For every four hours worked, employees are entitled to a 10-minute rest break and a 30-minute meal break. Understanding these requirements is crucial for both employees and employers to ensure compliance with the law.
Part-time hours in California can differ based on employer policies, industry standards, the specific needs of the job and the law in question. Below are a few laws that state different part time hours. These can apply to employees under certain circumstances in CA.
|Less than 40 hours per week
|California Labor Market Review
|35 hours or less
|Affordable Care Act
|Less than 30 hours
While this information may seem conflicting, employers vary on how they classify employees as part time.
The definition of part-time hours can vary due to several factors, including:
Different employers may have varying definitions of part-time work, which can affect the number of hours expected from part-time employees.
The nature of the industry can influence part-time hours. Some industries, such as retail and hospitality, frequently offer part-time positions with flexible schedules, while others may have more rigid standards.
The specific job role can determine whether it is classified as part-time or full-time. Some positions may be considered part-time even if they require a substantial number of hours.
Part-time work can also be influenced by seasonal demands. Certain jobs may become part-time during off-peak seasons and full-time during busy periods.
Employers may take advantage of their employees’ status by denying them certain benefits like healthcare, paid time off, or retirement plans that full-time employees receive. Part-time workers may also face reduced pay rates, limited advancement opportunities, and unstable schedules, leading to financial instability.
Additionally, they may be subjected to inconsistent or inadequate training and less legal protection against unfair treatment or wrongful termination. These factors collectively contribute to the vulnerability and potential exploitation of part-time employees in California.
Emma is a part-time employee at a retail store. Despite consistently working 30 hours per week, which is just below the threshold for full-time status, she is denied access to benefits such as health insurance and paid time off that are exclusively offered to full-time employees.
Emma also notices that her hourly wage is significantly lower than that of her full-time counterparts, despite performing the same tasks. Additionally, her schedule is erratic and subject to frequent changes, making it challenging for her to plan personal commitments or secure additional employment.
As a result, Emma faces financial instability, limited access to essential benefits, and an uncertain work-life balance, demonstrating how she is being taken advantage of by her employer as a part-time employee.
Michael works as a part-time administrative assistant in a corporate office. Despite consistently working 25 hours per week, he is denied access to benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation days that are provided to full-time employees.
Michael also notices that he is excluded from important company-wide meetings and decision-making processes, limiting his professional growth opportunities. Additionally, his workload is often equivalent to that of full-time employees, but he receives a lower hourly rate and is not compensated for working overtime.
This disparity in pay and benefits leaves Michael feeling undervalued and financially strained, indicating how he is being taken advantage of by his employer in the corporate office setting as a part-time employee.
John is a part-time employee at a clothing store. During the holiday season, the store experiences a surge in customer demand, resulting in increased workload for the staff. John, being reliable and committed, often ends up working more than 40 hours per week to meet the demands.
However, his employer fails to provide him with the legally mandated overtime pay of 1.5 times his regular hourly wage for the extra hours worked. Instead, they only pay him his regular wage, disregarding his entitlement to fair compensation.
Despite his dedication and the additional workload he undertakes, John feels exploited as his employer takes advantage of his part-time status to avoid properly compensating him for the overtime hours he puts in.
Employees in California, whether working part-time or full-time, get different benefits when hired as W2 employees and are required to complete W4 forms for withholding purposes. While certain benefits are exclusively offered to full-time workers, others are available to all employees regardless of their working hours.
It’s important to note that these benefits can vary depending on the specific policies of employers and applicable laws.
If you’re being taken advantage of as a part-time employee and not receiving fair compensation or benefits, there are several steps you can take:
Remember, seeking legal advice and taking action may have different processes and requirements depending on your jurisdiction, so it’s important to consult with professionals who can guide you based on the specific laws and regulations applicable to your situation.
If you think you are being taken advantage of as a part time employee and your employer is violating California wage and hour law, give us a call today. LawLinq works with some of the best wage and hour attorneys in the state. We’ll get you connected with a top rated attorney in your area and an initial consultation free of charge.