Full-time hours

What are full time hours?


In the United States, the standard workweek typically consists of 40 hours, generally spread over five days with eight hours each day. However, this definition can vary:

  • Some employers may define full-time as 37.5 hours per week, factoring in a 30-minute unpaid lunch break daily.
  • Others might consider 35 hours as full-time, especially if they provide longer lunch breaks.

It's important to note that full-time hours can differ based on the job requirements and employer discretion.

Benefits of Full-Time Employment

Full-time employment typically comes with several advantages:

  • Eligibility for Benefits: Full-time workers often have access to benefits like health insurance, dental insurance, paid vacation days, and sick leave.
  • Retirement and Stock Options: Employers may offer retirement match programs and stock ownership opportunities to full-time employees.
  • Job Stability: Full-time positions usually offer more stability compared to part-time roles.
  • Structured Routine: Full-time work provides a consistent schedule, which can be beneficial for personal planning and stability.

Employer Definition of Full-Time Hours

While 40 hours per week is a common benchmark for full-time employment, some employers have different criteria, such as the number of shifts worked. The IRS defines a full-time employee as one who works at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. Employers can use either the monthly measurement method or the look-back measurement method to determine full-time status.

Exempt Employees and Full-Time Status

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn't specifically define full-time hours for salaried (exempt) employees, leaving it to employers to set their standards. Exempt employees, often in positions requiring independent judgment, are typically not subject to overtime regulations.

Final thoughts

It's essential for employees to understand that being considered full-time doesn't automatically guarantee eligibility for all benefits offered by an employer. For instance, certain benefits might only be available to those working more than 35 hours per week. Employees should directly consult with their employer to clarify their full-time status and associated benefits.