Request A Free Consultation
Sunset on a pier in Orange County

What is Considered Part-Time Employment in California?

March 31, 2023 Legal Team

In California, part-time employment is defined as working less than 40 hours a week. However, California does not have a specific legal definition of part-time employment. Instead, it is generally determined by employer policies and practices. For example, some employers classify workers who put in at least 32 hours each week as full-time employees.

Do Part-Time Employees Have the Same Rights as Full-Time Employees?

In California, part-time employees generally have the same rights as full-time employees. Here are some examples:

Minimum Wage

Part-time employees are entitled to the same minimum wage as full-time employees. The current minimum wage in California is $15.50 per hour for all employers.

Overtime Pay

Part-time employees are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked over 8 hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime pay is generally 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay.

Family and Medical Leave

Part-time employees may be eligible for paid and unpaid family leave. Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), they must have worked for their employer for at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, and their employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Paid Sick Leave

Part-time employees in California are entitled to paid sick leave under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014 if they have worked for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year and complete a 90-day employment period before taking leave. Employers are required to provide at least three days (24 hours) of paid sick leave per year to eligible employees.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Part-time employees are protected by anti-discrimination laws and have the right to a workplace free from discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, disability, or other protected characteristics.

Are Part-Time Employees Given Rest Periods?

Part-time employees who work at least two hours but less than four hours in a shift are entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break. If they work at least four hours but less than six hours, they are entitled to two 10-minute rest breaks. If they work at least six hours but less than eight hours, they are entitled to three 10-minute rest breaks. Additionally, workers who work more than five hours in a workday are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break.

Are Part-Time Employees Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Part-time employees are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer a work-related injury or illness. California’s workers’ compensation laws cover most employees, including those who work part-time, temporary, or seasonal jobs. Additionally, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, regardless of whether they work full-time or part-time. This insurance provides benefits such as medical treatment, disability payments, and vocational rehabilitation.

If you are a part-time employee and feel that you are not receiving the same rights and benefits as full-time employees, you may want to speak with your employer or an Orange County employment attorney to learn more about your options.