What Is the Minimum Hours for Part Time?

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Part-time employment is ideal for a schedule that involves heavy school and family obligations, which are arguably jobs of their own. When an employer advertises a part-time job, though, it isn't always clear how much of your time the position requires. That's because the definition of part-time isn't set in stone.

1 Part-time vs. Full-time

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act does not define part-time work. Since this may vary between employers, it's impossible to determine what the term "part-time" means in a job ad without further explanation. It's likely that the employer will provide more information at the job interview, or he expects you to tell him how many hours you can work.

2 Pay

Compensate for working fewer hours by looking for jobs with higher pay. For example, you have to work twice as many hours at a job that pays $10 as you would at one that pays $20 to earn the same amount of money. Ensure that you work enough hours by subtracting your costs to work — such as transportation and work attire — from your net pay. If it's not enough to meet your needs, ask for more hours or find another part-time job.

3 Employee Benefits

Some employers regard part-time employees differently when it comes to health, retirement, unemployment and vacation benefits. Whether an individual employer provides them, and to what degree, depends on the employer, as well as state law. Ask about this before accepting a job offer if benefits are a high priority for you.

4 Work-Life Balance

Choose your hours based on your life schedule, not the other way around. While it may seem feasible to work every hour you don't have school or family responsibilities to attend to, doing so will make you exhausted and unable to do well at either. Set aside at least seven hours to sleep, three hours to eat and time to travel to and from your destinations each day. Fit work hours in around this and your other obligations, and take time at least once a week to relax.