Part time California Hours

Dive into the nuances of part-time employment in California, including work hours, rights, and common employer misconceptions. Protect your rights as a part-time worker against wage, overtime, and benefit discrimination.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Have a quick question? I answered nearly 1500 FAQs.

What is part time work in California?

The foundation of this country is its workforce. Workers put in long hours tending to a scorching grill, serving customers, operating manufacturing lines, delivering presents in time for the holidays, and performing many other jobs necessary to maintain our economy. And in spite of all of this, greedy businesses regularly exploit them.

When an employer attempts to violate an employee’s rights, they are pulling at the threads that unite us all. Today, we’ll talk about a common strategy businesses use to defraud employees of benefits and compensation they are legally entitled to. That technique is to misclassify personnel as part-time workers.

After reading this, one of the first questions you might have is, “What is considered part-time in California?” We hope to clarify these and other matters in this article.

In California, How Many Hours Are Considered Part-Time?

In California, is 32 hours a complete day? How about forty? Is there even a limit? In California, part-time often refers to work that is less than forty hours per week.

That said, no California law establishes a strict definition of full-time employment. 35 hours or less are considered part-time, according to the California Labor Market Review. But again, this is merely a recommendation rather than a law.

Full-time is defined on the federal level by the Affordable Care Act as working at least 30 hours per week, or 130 hours per month. Californian part-time work schedules typically differ by employer.

While most firms do their best to categorize their workers accurately, some do not.

How Do Employers Discriminate Using Part-Time Workers?

Contrary to popular belief, part-time employees are not entitled to the same protections against discrimination as full-time employees.

Discrimination is taken seriously in California. Recognize your rights and be wary of attempts to discriminate against you because of your part-time employment. Let’s discuss some typical ways that part-time workers are exploited.

Minimum Wage

The same minimum wage laws apply to part-time employees as they do to full-time workers. The minimum wage in California is $13 per hour, and it rises to $14 per hour for businesses with over 26 employees.  $7.25 per hour is the federal minimum wage.

It doesn’t matter how much part-time work you do—you still have the right to the minimum wage.

Rest Periods

Certain part-time employees are informed that they are not eligible for breaks. In reality, even if you work part-time, you can still take breaks for meals and relaxation.

After working four hours, you can usually take a ten-minute break. Additionally, you should be able to take two meal breaks while working longer than ten hours, and a thirty-minute meal break if working longer than five hours.


You can still be paid overtime even if you work part-time. Employers frequently require “part-time” workers to put in more than 40 hours of work, despite what the public believes.

Working overtime may qualify you for time and a half or even twice your regular compensation, regardless of whether you qualify as full-time or part-time.

Nevertheless, there are several positions for which the overtime rules are waived. The majority of these exemptions apply to professional and executive roles.

Shift Labor

For split shifts, California demands additional compensation, known as a premium. These are intermittent changes that take place during the day.

A split shift is when someone works four hours in the morning and four at night. Part-time employees are sometimes required to work split shifts. Thankfully, the regulations still permit split shift premiums for part-time employees.

Pay and Benefits

According to California law, workers must be paid the same as their coworkers who do substantially similar work.

Work done under similar circumstances and with comparable ability, effort, and responsibility is referred to as substantially similar.

For instance, even though one cook works part-time in a kitchen, the other cooks probably do comparable jobs. Because you work part-time, some companies might try to reduce your wages and benefits; nevertheless, this does not constitute an exception to equal pay.

The California Equal Pay Act prohibits this kind of abuse.

Contact an employment lawyer

Many part-time employees are taught that they are not entitled to the same rights and benefits as their full-time colleagues, but this is inaccurate.

In California, you still enjoy many of the same rights as regular employees, even if you work part-time hours. Speak with an employment attorney for assistance if your employer is taking advantage of your part-time position to defraud you of your income and benefits.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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