Evaluating Your Team: What Qualifies as Full-time Hours?

As a business, you have to classify your employees the right way. This is the key to staying in line with employment laws. It also ensures that team members get the benefits and protections they deserve. 

That said, defining full-time work isn’t just counting hours. This classification has a big impact on your employees and your business. Labor laws provide some rules for determining full-time status. However, employers have some space to interpret regulations.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how to define full-time hours. We’ll also explore why this classification matters. All to help you make decisions that support your business and team’s well-being.

To classify full-time employees, you need to know the legal and regulatory requirements. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the stage for labor regulations in the US. Here’s what you should know about that and other regulatory factors.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these are the FLSA standards related to hours:

Hours worked: Hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.

FLSA overtime: Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours – seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.

The Fair Labor Standards Act does not define full-time employment or part-time employment. This is a matter generally to be determined by the employer.

Differences in state labor laws

The FLSA may set the national standard, but state labor laws vary. This makes figuring out full-time status a challenge. For example, some states might give extra protections or benefits beyond what federal law requires. 

Minimum hours for full-time employment

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a full-time employee is, for a calendar month, an employee employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week, or 130 hours of service per month.

Meeting the minimum hours means employees are entitled to benefits. These often include health insurance and overtime pay, but employers have control over the way they design benefits programs.

Homebase streamlines payroll and eliminates tedious time calculations with automated online timesheets and simple time card tracking.

how to manage labor costs

Industry standards and best practices

To define full-time hours, you need to know industry standards. Here are some considerations to keep top of mind.

Industry standards

Every industry has guidelines for full-time employment. Healthcare may define full-time hours differently than retail. Healthcare workers often have irregular shifts, which changes the calculation of full-time status.

Industries with busy periods like retail have to adjust for peak times. Taking these industry differences into account is important. That makes it possible to create policies to meet standards and workforce needs.

Comparing to competitors

Be sure to understand the policies of competitors and how you compare. That way, you can make your policies appealing to potential employees. Look at industry standards to find areas where you can improve. Then, adjust your policies to offer a good benefits package.

Tools like industry reports and surveys provide insight into current trends. Analyzing current policies and employee feedback also helps you understand expectations. This information empowers you to make meaningful changes.

Workload and resources

When planning hours, consider workload and resources. Keeping an eye on these areas will help you figure out your hiring needs. It also makes it easier to schedule employees. Look at workload patterns to find your busy periods. The goal is to have enough coverage while keeping costs down. 

Factoring in benefits and compensation

Full-time classification affects things like insurance and paid time off. It also has financial impacts on businesses. Let’s break down what you need to know.

How full-time classification impacts benefits

Being full-time comes with benefits that can improve your team’s quality of life. These perks keep employees happy and loyal. Employers need to think carefully about what they offer full-time staff. Otherwise, it’s tough to stay on par with or ahead of other companies. For example, paid parental leave is now offered by nearly 40% of employers.

Choosing the right benefits for your organization

There are all kinds of full-time benefits. Health coverage helps employees afford medical expenses like doctor visits and medicine. Many employers also offer retirement plans. These help employees have a nest egg for when they reach the appropriate age.

Full-time employees often get other perks too. Paid time off lets them take vacations or sick days without losing income. They may also get stipends for education or access to professional development resources.

Costs and budgeting for benefits

Of course, providing benefits comes with a price tag. Offering benefits to all employees that qualify is a big investment. Employers have to carefully look at the costs. Then, they need to think about the bottom line and budget wisely. For example, paid leave costs average $2.82 in goods-producing industries and $3.34 in service-providing industries, per hour worked.

You can analyze the use of benefits or negotiate with providers for better deals. You may also look into other options, like flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts. These can give value to employees while keeping expenses in check.

Travel Time Pay for Hourly Employees

Workload distribution and scheduling

Creating schedules is at the center of managing a workforce. Let’s look at tips for dividing work and dealing with common scheduling issues. 

Blending full-time and part-time staff

Getting the right coverage means finding a balance between full-time and part-time employees. Full-time workers bring stability. On the flip side, part-time employees give you flexibility to handle changes. Some strategies to mix your part-time and full-time staff are:

  • Cross-train employees
  • Use flexible scheduling
  • Keep communication channels open 

Dividing work evenly

Employers need systems to make sure tasks are split by the whole team. One way is to use workload management tools. These make tracking tasks transparent. Setting clear expectations and offering support when necessary also helps keep workloads fair.

Overcoming scheduling challenges

Many full-time teams can run into scheduling issues. Common problems include:

  • Shift conflicts
  • Overtime
  • PTO planning

Employers have to get ahead of these issues. The goal is to minimize disruptions and keep business going. One method is using scheduling software. It can automate shift planning and make it easier to communicate updates. This simplifies scheduling and helps employees get the right amount of hours. 

Open communication between managers and employees is also important. Employees should share their scheduling preferences and concerns. That creates a better work environment for everyone. 

Need help scheduling full-time employees?

By prioritizing compliance and employee welfare, organizations can build a productive and resilient workforce. Regular reviews also help you stay ahead of the curve and meet employee expectations.

Want to make sure your team always has the information they need? With one easy app to build schedules and communicate changes, Homebase keeps your team accountable. Get started for free today!


How can I ensure fair workload distribution among full-time and part-time employees?

Start by analyzing job roles and responsibilities. Assign tasks with that in mind and monitor the outcomes. Encourage open communication between managers and employees to address concerns.

How do industry standards and norms influence the definition of full-time hours?

Industry standards and norms can heavily influence how companies define full-time hours. Some industries, like manufacturing, may require longer shifts or more hours to meet demand. It’s crucial to consider industry expectations, your company’s needs, and employee capacity. 

What are the potential consequences of misclassifying employees as full-time or part-time?

Misclassifying employees can lead to trouble, including legal penalties, back pay, and damage to your company’s reputation. It can lead to employees feeling burnt out. Remember to be up-to-date on classification laws and review your employee classifications on a regular basis.

Related posts

Run Payroll with Ease: 7 Steps to a Stress-Free Payday

We know that managing payroll can be challenging for small business owners. It’s time-consuming, complex, and one wrong step can…

Read article

What is Pay Rate? A Beginner’s Guide

If you run a business, you’re going to need to know how to answer the question, ‘What is the pay…

Read article

3 Best Construction Payroll Software for 2024

If you work in the construction industry, you know that it’s its own beast, totally unlike other industries. So when…

Read article

Get Organized with Homebase—the All-In-One Business Tool

It’s no surprise that there are a ton of steps that go into starting a business: coming up with an…

Read article

Beginner Finance Tips for Small Business

You opened a small biz to build a dream; not budgets and balance sheets. Don’t worry, it’s not just you….

Read article

Payroll Taxes for Dummies (Ugh, Taxes)

Like everything in life, there are great things about running a business, and others that you wish that you didn’t…

Read article
Effortlessly schedule and track your team's time with Homebase.
Try our basic plan free, forever.
Try Homebase for free