The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define what constitutes a part time employee. What is counted as a part time employee is generally defined by the employer by policy. The definition of a part time employee is often published in the employer’s employee handbook.
A part time employee has traditionally worked less than a 40 hour work week. Today, though, some employers count employees as full time if they work 30, 32, or 36 hours a week. In fact, fewer required work hours is considered a non-standard benefit in some organizations. Consequently, the definition of part time employee will vary from organization to organization.
In many organizations, one differentiation between full time and part time employees is eligibility for benefits such as health insurance, paid time off (PTO), paid vacation days, and sick leave. Some organizations enable part time employees to collect a pro-rated set of benefits. In other organizations, part time status makes an employee ineligible for any benefits.