Is Working for 30 Hours a Week Full-Time Employment?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 19, 2023

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Flexible work arrangements involve working different schedules other than the standard 40 hours weekly and eight hours daily. While a 40-hour workweek is common, working for 30 hours is an appealing strategy for full-time employees. Learning about 30-hour workweeks can help you understand the benefits of reduced work hours and decide whether to recommend this flexible arrangement. In this article, we answer, "Is 30 hours a week full-time employment?", provide benefits of a 30-hour workweek, and discuss considerations for this flexible work arrangement.

Is working for 30 hours a week full-time employment?

According to Statistics Canada, working for at least 30 hours a week is full-time employment. Many employers offer flexibility to employees by using this work arrangement. For example, you may work from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and choose when to complete the remaining work hours with this schedule. If you earn wages per hour, you can expect to receive 75% of your salary when changing from a 40-hour workweek to a 30-hour workweek. Confirm whether working for reduced hours would be temporary or permanent moving forward and ask about any salary changes if your employers are considering it.

Read more: Full-Time Hours: Definition and Benefits

Benefits of a 30-hour workweek

Here are ways 30-hour workweeks can be beneficial to you and your employers:

Encourages better work-life balance

With fewer work hours, you can participate in more activities outside of work. For example, you'd typically have more time to engage in your hobbies, network with more individuals, and explore your professional interests. A new schedule of 30 hours typically allows you to decide when to work and provides more control of your work duration. For example, your manager may allow longer or more frequent breaks as long as you complete the required 30 hours per week. Similarly, you may have an extra day for your weekend if you decide to work eight hours a day for four days.

Read more: A Helpful Guide to Having a Great Work-Life Balance

Offers shorter commuting time

If working a 30-hour schedule in five days, your employers may allow you to work at a more convenient time to avoid traffic, depending on where you work. You may also compress your work hours over fewer days, enabling you not to commute to work every day. If your employers are switching to 30-hour workweeks, confirm the flexibility of the arrangement to determine how to plan your daily commute.

Encourages more workplace focus

With reduced work hours, you can expect to focus more on your tasks for the workday. This flexible arrangement is particularly useful if you have other commitments outside of work. For example, suppose you care for a child as a parent or guardian. You typically focus more on completing your tasks during your 30-hour schedule because it offers you more time outside of work to care for the child.

Reduces overhead costs

Overhead costs are the expenses associated with operating a business, regardless of the product quantity or service delivery. For example, telephone bills, utilities, and supplies typically contribute toward overhead costs. If you work for 30 hours a week, your employers often have reduced operating expenses because you typically use fewer resources. They can allocate the money saved toward other business aspects, such as research, development opportunities, or quality improvement.

Attracts and retains top talent

The flexibility of a 30-hour schedule can encourage promising candidates to accept employment offers where you work. It can also motivate you to continue in your position, enabling your employers to maintain their competitive advantage. For example, suppose you're considering a job with a competitor. If your current employers switch to a 30-hour workweek and provide more opportunities for career growth, you may see the company as a better option for career fulfillment. If all employees work the same hours, your employers can also achieve workplace equity and a more positive work environment.

Reduces the workplace risks

Managing risks is an important duty of the upper management team. By changing work schedules to 30-hour workweeks, they can protect you from risks associated with long hours of work. For example, suppose you use office equipment for three hours a day. You can expect to spend fewer hours operating the equipment when working for 30 hours a week, leading to reduced workplace risks.

Related: Four-Day Work Week Pros and Cons

What to consider before changing to a 30-hour workweek

If you participate in adjusting work schedules, here are factors to consider before recommending a company operates 30-hour workweeks:

Employee motivation

If the company where you work has full-time and part-time employees, you can monitor their motivation level before recommending reduced work hours. Part-time employees who work close to 30 hours a week might no longer see the benefits of their work arrangement. To keep them satisfied while adjusting to 30-hour workweeks, many employers convert those professionals to full-time employees. With the introduction of 30-hour workweeks, the motivation of full-time employees who earn per hour may also change. Many companies keep them satisfied by continuing to pay their wages for 40 hours.

Read more: A Guide to Self-Motivation in the Workplace

Project delivery timeframe

Reduced work hours can impact project delivery across departments in a company. Many tasks also require more than 30 hours a week to complete. For example, auditors may spend several hours auditing a department. To resolve these issues, many companies hire temporary employees, such as contractors and freelancers, to cover the required shifts and help with time-sensitive projects.

Overtime hours and pay

Following federal employment laws, employers legally pay for any hour worked outside of the standard 40 hours. Changing the workweek to 30 hours may involve more overtime hours to pay employees. To reduce these expenses, some companies propose compensatory time off to employees who work additional 10 hours or fewer in a 30-hour workweek. Then, they typically pay for overtime hours that exceed 40 hours per week.

Employee benefit costs

Many companies offer full benefits, such as educational reimbursement, paid time off, and health insurance, to full-time employees who work 40 hours a week. By switching all schedules to 30 hours, employees who previously worked 30 to 39 hours become eligible for these benefits. As this schedule change can increase costs, employers may adjust employment terms and conditions to reduce employee benefit costs and inform employees of the change moving forward.

Adjustment challenges

You may also experience challenges in changing your work style. For example, this change may require you to discover more productive ways to complete tasks. To ensure a 30-hour workweek is favourable, companies typically adopt it temporarily to assess how employees can adjust to reduced work hours while maintaining productivity.

FAQs about work schedules

Here are helpful responses to questions about work arrangements:

What does full-time equivalent mean?

Full-time equivalent (FTE) is a ratio of your scheduled work hours to the hours you work in a full-time workweek. For example, suppose your employer operates a 30-hour workweek. If you're scheduled to work 30 hours per week, you're a 1.0 FTE because the hours you work equal the full-time hours required. Similarly, if you work 15 hours per week, you're a 0.5 FTE because the hours you worked is half of the standard full-time hours. Employers use FTEs to describe full-time and part-time employees.

What are other flexible work arrangements available?

Aside from reduced work hours, here are other work arrangements your employers may propose:

  • Flexible time: enables you to work your required hours but at varying times throughout the day. For example, you may start work at 7:30 a.m. and end by 3:30 a.m.

  • Compressed workweek: involves working for longer periods daily to receive a day off.

  • Telecommuting: means working from home instead of out of an office.

  • Job sharing: occurs when two or more employees share one or more positions or duties. For example, you may share your technician job by working on Monday and Tuesday while your partner works on Thursday and Friday.

  • Gradual retirement: enables you to reduce your work hours or workload over time instead of switching from full-time employment directly to retirement.

Read more: What Is a Flexible Work Arrangement? (With Benefits)

What is the maximum number of hours you may work in a week?

You may legally work a maximum of 48 hours a week. Suppose there's an emergency, such as essential work to complete or an accident. In that case, your employers can legally request you to exceed these hours after writing to the regional director of your trade union. You may also work additional hours if your employers can legally show the Minister of Labour that those hours are necessary. Regardless of the reason for exceeding the maximum work hours, you can expect to have at least a day to rest. Discuss with your employer to discover your scheduled work hours for a week.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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