How Many Hours Is Part Time?

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31 May 2024

When it comes to jobs, there isn't a single solution that works for everyone.

Some people like to work part-time, which means they work fewer hours than a full-time job. But, many people wonder, how many hours is part-time'?

This insight is here to help you understand what part-time work means in the UK.

It explains what it is, why people choose it, what rights you have if you work part-time, and the rules that apply to these jobs.

Key Takeaways

  • Part-time work typically involves working less than 30-35 hours a week, with an average of around 16 hours. However, there is no fixed definition, and it can vary by employer and job.
  • In the UK, a full-time job is often defined as working 35 hours or more per week, though this can vary. There are no strict laws defining the exact number of hours for full-time work.
  • Part-time work offers benefits like improved work-life balance, flexible schedules, reduced stress, skill development opportunities, supplemental income, transition options for various life stages, and potential health benefits.

How Many Hours Is Part-Time?

Part-time work usually means working less than 30-35 hours a week. In many cases, part-time employees work around 16 hours weekly. However, the specific number of hours can vary from one job or employer to another. So, there's no one-size-fits-all answer; it depends on the company and the job.

The line between full-time and part-time work isn't always clear. Part-time work usually means working fewer hours than full-time, but there's no fixed number of hours that makes the distinction.

In the UK, a full-time job is often defined as working 35 hours or more per week. Anything below this might be considered part-time. However, the actual number of hours for part-time work can vary widely from one company to another, and even within different positions in the same company.

How Many Hours Is There in a Full Working Week?

In the United Kingdom, a full-time working week is often defined as 35 hours or more. This is a common standard, but it can vary depending on the employer and industry. Some employers may consider 40 hours per week as full-time, but 35 hours is a widely accepted benchmark. There are no specific laws that define the exact number of hours that constitute a full-time working week.

There are various labour laws and regulations that govern employment rights, including minimum wage, working time limits, rest breaks, and paid leave entitlements, regardless of whether a person is working full-time or part-time. These laws ensure that workers are treated fairly and receive certain benefits and protections regardless of their hours worked.

What Are The Benefits Of Working Part Time?

Working part-time comes with several benefits, including:

Work-Life Balance

Part-time work often allows for better work-life balance. You have more time for personal activities, family, and relaxation.

Flexible Schedules

Part-time jobs may offer more flexible hours, making it easier to accommodate personal commitments or pursue other interests.

Less Stress

With fewer working hours, part-time workers often experience less job-related stress and burnout.

Skill Development

Part-time roles can provide opportunities to learn new skills or gain experience in different industries or roles.

Supplemental Income

Part-time work can be a source of supplementary income to cover expenses or save for specific goals. 

While working part-time, you will have some fragmented time. During these times you can increase your income by selling some custom products. Selling customised products does not require a high threshold. It would be better if you have a foundation in design, but you can still do it if you have some unique ideas without a foundation in design.side hustle idea

For example, customised Enamel Badges and customised keychains are good choices. Custom enamel badges are very practical, whether as a stylish decoration or as a collection, a unique enamel badge will attract people's attention.

Custom keychains are also very versatile. Not only can they be given as gifts to others, but sometimes keychains with special functions are more popular. For example, mountaineering keychains, flashlight keychains, compass keychains, etc.

Transitioning Back to Work

Part-time roles are often suitable for individuals transitioning back to work after a break, such as parents or retirees.

Reduced Commute

Part-time workers may spend less time commuting, saving money and reducing environmental impact.

Health Benefits

Some part-time jobs offer access to health and retirement benefits, although these may vary by employer and the number of hours worked.

Lower Job Search Stress

Finding part-time positions can be easier than securing full-time roles, making it more accessible for job seekers.

Better Health

Research suggests that working part-time can contribute to better mental and physical health compared to long hours of full-time work.

Is 25 hours a week part-time?

In many contexts, working 25 hours a week is considered part-time employment. However, it's important to note that there is no universally accepted definition of part-time work, and the classification can vary depending on the employer, industry, and local labour laws.

In some cases, an employer might consider someone working 25 hours a week as a part-time employee, while others may classify it differently. It's always a good idea to clarify with your employer or consult your employment contract to understand how your specific job is categorised.

How does 4 day week work for part-time workers?

A 4-day workweek for part-time workers typically means that they work for four days a week, but for fewer hours each day compared to full-time employees. Here's how it generally works:

Number of Hours

Part-time workers on a 4-day week schedule will work fewer hours per day compared to full-time employees. The exact number of hours can vary but is typically less than 8 hours a day.

Total Weekly Hours

The total number of hours worked in a week by part-time employees on a 4-day week schedule will still be less than the standard 5-day, 40-hour workweek of full-time employees.

Schedule Flexibility

Part-time employees on a 4-day week may have some flexibility in choosing which days they work. However, this flexibility depends on the employer and the nature of the job.

Benefits and Entitlements

The benefits and entitlements for part-time workers on a 4-day week, such as paid time off, holidays, and healthcare coverage, can vary based on the employer's policies and local labour laws.

Proportionate Pay

Part-time workers are typically paid a proportionate amount based on the number of hours they work compared to full-time employees. For example, if a full-time employee earns a certain salary, a part-time worker working half the hours might receive half the salary.

The Flexibility of Part-Time Work

One of the standout features of part-time work lies in its flexibility. This employment model caters to a diverse range of individuals with varying personal commitments and lifestyle preferences, enabling them to strike the right balance between work and life.

Job Sharing

A notable form of part-time work is job sharing, where a single full-time job is split between two part-time workers. It offers a flexible approach to dividing the work, allowing for arrangements that best fit the workers' schedules. For instance, one worker could work the morning shift, and the other could cover the afternoon shift. Alternatively, the week could be split between the two, with each person working for a set number of days and a handover period on one day.

Job sharing provides predictability in terms of work hours, an aspect that benefits both the employee and the employer. While the employee can plan personal commitments (like childcare) around these predictable hours, the employer gains the assurance of always having someone to cover the job.

Term-Time Working

Another variant of part-time work is term-time working. This arrangement allows employees to reduce their hours or take time off during school holidays, providing an organised way to manage childcare responsibilities. From the employer's perspective, it offers adequate time to plan for covering the absence.

Rights and Protections for Part-Time Workers

Despite working fewer hours, part-time employees enjoy the same statutory employment rights as their full-time counterparts. There is no minimum number of hours to qualify for these employment rights, ensuring protection for all part-time workers.

Non-Discriminatory Treatment

The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations dictates that part-time employees must be treated at least as well as equivalent full-time workers unless an objective justification exists for differential treatment.

An 'equivalent' full-time worker refers to an individual performing a similar job under the same type of contract. Therefore, a part-time worker might compare their conditions to a colleague on the same team or someone performing similar work on a different team.

Furthermore, if a worker shifts from full-time to part-time in the same role, they can compare their part-time conditions with their previous full-time contract. This comparison also applies if a worker returns part-time after maternity leave.

Pro-Rata Benefits

A significant aspect of these regulations is the principle of pro-rata benefits. Benefits for part-time workers should be in proportion to their hours. For instance, if a full-time worker receives a £1,000 bonus, a part-time worker working half the number of hours should receive £500.

These pro-rata benefits extend to:

Pay Rates:

Part-time workers should receive at least the same hourly pay rate as a full-timer doing a similar job.

Pension Opportunities and Benefits

Both full-time and part-time workers should have equal access to pension schemes. Other company benefits, such as company cars, employee discounts, and health insurance, should be provided pro-rata, if feasible.

Training and Career Development

Part-time workers must not be excluded from training and career development opportunities. Training must be organised at times convenient for most workers, including part-timers.

Holidays and Bank Holidays

All workers have the right to a minimum amount of annual holiday, proportional to what full-time workers receive.

Opportunities for Career Breaks

Some employers allow employees to take career breaks. Part-time workers have the right to access the same opportunities.

Sick Pay, Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Leave and Pay

Part-timers are entitled to sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay, plus parental leave equivalent to full-time staff. If companies offer more than the statutory entitlement, part-timers must also receive these contractual benefits.

Selection for Promotion, Transfer or Redundancy

Being part-time cannot be used as a reason for selection for transfer, redundancy, or refusing a promotion, unless it can be objectively justified.

Part-Time Work: A Flexible Pathway to Employment

In conclusion, understanding the nuances of part-time work, especially the question of how many hours is part time, is crucial for both employers and employees. While it offers a flexible and balanced approach to work, it also ensures that workers' rights are protected irrespective of the number of hours they work.

For an idea on whether it's worth working part time, read our insight: Is it worth working 20 hours a week?


Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

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