In the world we are living today, the cost of living has become extremely high.

Despite the unemployment rate being at its lowest in almost 50 years, salaries have not been increasing enough to match the steadily rising cost of living.

In order to meet their basic needs, many people are finding themselves supplementing their income with part time jobs.

Aside from those seeking to supplement their income, part time jobs are also a great option for those who have other obligations, such as school or parenting, that make it impossible for them to hold a full-time job.

If you are looking to supplement your main income, if you are a student looking for a part time job to help you pay your way through college, or even if you are a parent looking for a part-time job to help you foot your bills while raising a young child, it is important for you to learn more about part time jobs before you start looking.

In today’s article, we are going to look at what determines whether a job qualifies to be termed as part time, the hourly requirements of a part time job, some of the reasons why someone might want a part time job, reasons why employers might hire for part time positions, and types of part time jobs.


According to the International Labour Organization, a part time job as a form of employment whereby an employed person works fewer hours compared to those worked by a full-time worker.

With this kind of employment, the employees typically work in shifts which are usually rotational.

While the Fair Labor Standards Act does not specify the number of hours that are considered as full-time employment, many employers considered employees to be part time when they works for less than 35 hours a week.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also considers anyone working 35 or more hours per week to be a full time employee, though this definition is only used for statistical purposes.

At the same time, for purposes of the Affordable Care Act, the IRS considers anyone working more than 30 hours a week to be a full time employee.

The definition of part time work will also differ from country to country, therefore this definition might not apply for people outside the United States.

For example, in Finland, Canada and New Zealand, one needs to work less than 30 hours to be considered as a part time employee.

In Hungary and Turkey, a part time employee should work less than 36 hours, while the Norway considers anyone working less than 37 hours to be a part time employee.

In most industrialized countries, workers under part time employment have increased greatly over the last two decades. In developed countries, the number of part time hours put in by workers is higher compared to developing countries.

There also exists a considerable gender difference when it comes to working part time.

Women are more likely to work part time as compared to men especially across the world.

This is mainly because they have to take care of their household work and also take care of the children.

Although developed countries have recorded a higher number of part time hours by workers, the number of part time workers is very high in Africa which is a developing region.

It is also notable that the number of part time workers is high among low-skilled employees and in the service sector.

Considering that there are no documented laws or government regulations to determine what counts as part time work, it is almost entirely left for the employer to decide what constitutes part time work.

In most cases, part time work is usually determined by factors such as:

  • The hiring company or employer – the employer will set the conditions for the job as well as the pay.
  • The position of the job – some positions, especially those in the service industry and industries that operate round the clock, are more suited to part time workers.
  • The budget for the job – employers with a limited budget might decide to hire part time workers. Since part time workers are not entitled to benefits, hiring part time workers is more cost effective compared to hiring full time workers
  • Agreement between the employer and the employee.

Part time jobs especially those with rotating shifts will require an employee to furnish the employer with information about days and hours available for them to be able to come up with a rotating schedule for all the employees.

Such jobs include restaurant waiters, nurses, cashiers or retail salespeople.


There are a variety of reasons why someone might go for a part-time job.

For some, it is a way to earn an extra coin to supplement their main income, while others choose part time jobs because it is the only working arrangement that their circumstances will allow.

Some of the reasons why someone might choose a part time job include:

Paying Off Debts

Debts like student loans and mortgages need to be serviced or paid off regardless.

The lenders are not in the least concerned about the state of your financial situation, all they care about is the money you owe them.

Providing for all your basic needs and servicing a loan both at the same time can be quite cumbersome.

This is one of the major reasons people look for a part time job to supplement their full-time job.

Others might also work multiple part time jobs in order to both survive and pay off the debts they owe.

Meet Student Expenses

While education is considered a basic need today, not everyone is fortunate enough to have parents/guardians who can see them through college or to access student loans to finance their education.

Even for those who have someone to see them through college, they might not get enough allowances to cater for their day to day expenses.

In such situations, part time work is a great options that allows them to earn an income while leaving them with enough time to dedicate to their academic obligations.

Better Balance Between Work And Family Life

If you are a family person, part-time work might be a better option compared to full-time work.

Women are the most likely to get into part time work as compared to the men.

This is because apart from earning a living they have the responsibility of taking care of the children and ensuring their homes are well taken care of.

For example, someone with young kids might need someone to drop and pick kids from day care and watch over them when they are at home.

If such a person does not have a nanny, they will need a job with flexible hours to be able to juggle all these things.

This makes part time work a great option for them.

Some men will also go for part time work because it allows them to spend quality time with their families and while at the same time earning an income to support their families.

It’s a win-win situation.

Today, there are more men working in part time positions compared to two decades ago.

Supplementing Other Household Needs

Paying bills and meeting the basic needs for a household can sometimes be overwhelming.

In this case one may need to work part time to add to the family income.

This mostly applies to people who are underemployed or those who don’t earn enough to cater for all of these needs.

Entry Point into a Permanent Position

Working part time can be a path to full-time employment.

Most employers are not in a hurry to give permanent positions into their companies especially if they are not sure of an employee’s skill.

Thus they might need to put you on part time basis as they test your skills.

Sometimes, it can just be simply that the employer needs to build up the budget to allow for permanent hire.

This is why some people opt to work part time as they wait to receive a permanent contract.

Gaining Experience

Part time jobs in the form of paid internships help one to gain experience for the next job. Employers like seeing a work history.

Someone who has worked a part time job can use the experience gained from the job to help them increase their chances of landing a permanent job.

They will have a greater advantage compared to someone who has absolutely no experience.

Self Esteem

“What do you do?”

This is a question most of us have been asked at some point in our lives.

Most of us feel the need to be seen as productive and needed hence the need to find some work to do.

It builds our self-esteem to feel productive and not viewed as a leech.

Therefore, even someone who has most of their needs taken care of by a parent/guardian might decide to take a part time job in order to feel productive and not to be totally dependent on their guardian.

Career Opportunities

Working part-time can be a great way to test your skills and ability to work in a full time position.

It can also open doors to exciting career opportunities because you will have proved your worth in terms of being able to handle the job.

Reduced Stress Levels

Studies show that people who work full-time tend to feel more worn out by the end of the day compared to those who work part time.

This is mainly due to the little time have take to engage in a healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising.

They are likely to develop stress which in turn affects their health.

Part time workers have more time, which means it is easier for them to find the time to engage in healthy lifestyle habits, such as hitting the gym.

Free Time to Pursue Studies or Other Projects

Working part time means one has more free time which can be used to engage in other activities or projects such as furthering their education to help them climb up the corporate ladder, pursuing their hobbies, or engaging in community work.


Employers have different reasons for hiring part time workers. Sometimes it might be for selfish reasons and other times it might be just for convenience.

In most cases, however, hiring part time employees provides employers with more advantages as compared to hiring full-time workers.

Cost Effective

Hiring part time employees means a reduction in costs.

First, part time workers on a contractual basis will usually be paid an hourly wage based on the number of hours they are required to work in order to complete a certain task.

If there is no work to be done, such a worker won’t be required to come to work.

This means that the employer will be getting value for money, since they are only paying for work done.

Compare this to a full-time worker who will still be paid at the end of the month even when there is no work to be done.

In addition, hiring part time workers is cost effective since part time employees are not entitled to benefits  such as paid leave, paid sick offs or health insurance.

The employer saves a lot in terms of unpaid benefits which would have been a significant cost for them if they had full-time workers. In most instances, the employers only get off with paying retirement benefits.

Flexible Workforce

Part time workers provide employers with flexibility. The employer is therefore not obligated to fit in a 40 hours-a week schedule if the workload does not support it.

The employer will only allocate workers a task according to the time needed to complete the workload.

Project Based Work

It would make uneconomical sense to hire a full-time worker for a project that requires different skills set that this worker might not have.

In some cases, most projects are a one-off assignment that require varying skill sets based on the project.

In such situations, it would not be wise to hire a full-time employee who has the specific skill needed for one project but lacks the expertise to work on another project.

For companies that have such varying projects, it makes more sense to hire part time workers based on the project they are currently working on.

Specialized Skills

Sometimes a company may require a specialized skill to carry out a specific task which may not be possessed by the pool of full-time workers in the company.

It would be wise to hire the specialized skill on part time basis until the said task is completed rather than having them full-time even when they are not required. So most companies would only hire when there is need to.

Reduce the Workload of Full-Time Workers

The workload in a company may increase from time to time and most employers find it easier employing part time workers to work during such times, such as evenings and during weekends, to ease the workload while remaining within the time frames set to complete the work.


Part time job is a traditional form of non-standard employment that has recently gained lots of widespread popularity all over the world as a preferred form of employment.

There are four types of part-time jobs;

  • Substantial part-time – with this type, workers work between 21-34 hours per week.
  • Short part-time – workers work 20 hours or less per week
  • Marginal part-time – workers work less than 15 hours per week
  • On call work – workers work very short hours and unpredictable fixed hours.

From these four forms of part-time, there are endless possibilities and opportunities for part time employment.

Some of the positions you can easily get part time employment include:

  • Retail positions – Most retail shops operate round the clock or between 12-18 hours a day. Different times of the day or seasons are busier than others therefore part-time workers are always needed to supplement the full-time workers to capitalize on sales. These retail positions include cashiers, sale assistants or shop attendants.
  • Positions in the restaurant industry – Restaurants are basically busy during meal times as opposed to between meals when the work is slow and there is no need to a lot of staff. One can capitalize on this and apply for part-time work either as a waiter or waitress, cashier, or dishwashers.
  • Substitute teacher – As long as you are a degree holder, you qualify to be a substitute teacher, which is a part time position.
  • Photographer – If you have good photography skills, you could be employed by a photography agency to cover for the main photographers when there are a lot of events to be covered.
  • Lifeguard – Most swimming pools are only open to the public for a few hours every day. If you are a good swimmer and are available during these hours, this can be a great part time job.
  • Bank tellers – Some banks and credit unions tend to hire tellers who work 4 hour shifts that is from 9 am to 10 pm to work on the busier days when there are a lot of customers.
  • Car washing and lawn mowing.
  • Library assistant.
  • Graphic designer.

These are just but a few examples of part-time job opportunities you could look up and choose from.


Part-time workers are most of the times not entitled to many of the benefits enjoyed by their counterparts who work full-time, such as health insurance, life insurance, unemployment insurance, paid time-offs, disability insurance, or retirement benefits.

This is one of the major reasons why many employers might prefer hiring part-time workers as opposed to full-time workers.

Not having to pay benefits allows them to save a significant amount of money.

However there has been efforts to improve working conditions for part-time workers by the International Labor Organization.

These improvements are mainly focused on the hourly wage rates of part time workers and basic benefits such as maternity leave for women who make up a big percentage of people working part-time.

As of now, the benefits of part time workers are left to the employer’s discretion. Still, there are some employers who provide their part-time employees with some benefits.

For instance, online retail giant Amazon is in the process of creating about 5000 positions that will be on a part time basis.

Those employed to these positions will be provided with basic benefits such as paid maternity leave.

IKEA also has offers paid parental leave to both full time and part time employees. Many companies also provide retirement benefits for part-time employees who have been with the companies for a specified period of time.

Another controversial issue when it comes to part time employees is the issue of overtime.

According to the FLSA, if a non-exempt employee works for more than 40 hours in a week, they should be paid one and a half times their normal hourly rate for each hour beyond the normal 40 hours.

Since part time employees are not non-exempt, they should also receive overtime pay.

While part time employees are less likely to work more than 40 hours a week, it is not entirely impossible.

For instance, a part time worker might work more than 40 hours as a result of covering a co-worker’s shift. In this case, they should receive overtime pay.


If you are looking for a way to supplement your main income or earn a living while taking care of other obligations, such as studying or taking care of a young kid, part time employment might be a great option for you.

Part time employment is basically any job that allows you to work less number of hours than those worked by full time employees.

In most cases, this usually means a job where you will work less than 35 hours.

While part time employment offers great flexibility, it is good to note that part time employees are not entitled to employee benefits, therefore you should put this into consideration when searching for a part time position.

What Does It Mean to Work Part Time Hours?

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