How Many Hours is Part-Time Employment? (With Examples)

Updated September 8, 2023

Whether you're looking to expand your professional network, make extra income, or learn a new skill, you might consider part-time employment. In this article, we discuss how many hours constitute part-time work in Canada, look at the benefits and disadvantages of part-time hours, and provide six suggestions for common part-time jobs.

How many hours is part-time employment?

While the Canada Labour Code clearly defines many aspects of legal employment standards across the country, it does not legislate the definition of part-time hours. The Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) considers 30 hours per week to be part-time, with full-time hours (typically a 9 to 5 or similar) being defined as more than 30 hours per week.

This is the federal guideline, as each province and territory has its own labour standards. For example, in Alberta, the definition of part-time hours is anything less than 30 hours a week for a single employer. In Ontario, there are no specified criteria.

Most employers in Canada subscribe to the idea that 30 hours or less a week defines part-time employment. This helps them to create policies and benefit programs for the people they employ.


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What are the benefits of working part-time?

Working part-time hours, depending on your priorities and expectations, can offer several positive benefits:

Gain transferable skills and experience

A part-time job offers you the opportunity to learn new skills by working in an industry you haven't tried before or by taking on new responsibilities. The work you do in a part-time job is as valuable as in a full-time position, especially when it comes to transferable skills. Part-time employment offers the opportunity to develop qualities such as interpersonal, communication, and time-management skills. You can use these skills in your next part-time or full-time position.

Entry to new opportunities

A part-time job offers you work experience that can help you break into a new career or industry. For example, if you want to work in the medical field, the experience you gain working part-time in a community health clinic can open up opportunities. It is also common for companies to offer new full-time positions to their valuable part-time employees. A part-time job can provide access to opportunities that aren't posted or advertised on job boards.

Supplemental income

Working a part-time position can provide additional income. Whether you're a full-time student or an established professional looking to make extra money, having a part-time job could help you achieve your financial goals. Many companies acknowledge that their part-time staff have other commitments, such as school, a family, or a career and commonly offer flexible schedules. The money from extra part-time employment could mean the difference between a local vacation and a tropical holiday.

Opportunity to pursue other interests

Working a part-time role affords you more time to pursue other interests that a full-time position might not accommodate. Perhaps you want to learn a new skill, develop a hobby, or start your own business. Having the flexibility of part-time employment allows you to focus more of your attention on the things that matter most to you. Part-time positions can also allow for greater flexibility in work hours. For example, a full-time position has set hours, such as nine to five, Monday to Friday. In a part-time role, you might be able to choose your hours or break them up over the course of the week to suit your schedule.

Build your professional network

Not only does part-time employment offer new experiences and skills, but it can also help you build your professional network. Trying a different industry or position may present the opportunity to meet people you could not have met otherwise. Building your professional network can accelerate your career, introduce you to new people, and present you with opportunities you might not have known about.


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What are the disadvantages of working part-time?

As with any position, part-time work comes with some drawbacks. Below are four common disadvantages to working a part-time position:

Working more or fewer hours than expected

Part-time position hours can be unpredictable and cause your work schedule to be erratic. Because your employer isn't obligated to provide a certain number of hours, your working hours may fluctuate from week to week. This can cause scheduling challenges and affect your paycheque. You could try to find a part-time position that offers consistent working hours or see if your supervisor is open to discussing more regular hours.

Eligibility for benefits

Typically in Canada, part-time employees don't qualify for health, insurance, or company retirement benefits. If you're working a part-time position and a full-time job, then you are likely covered with your full-time company. However, if you work only part-time, then you can ask your employer about eligibility for healthcare and life insurance or any retirement benefits that may be available. In Canada, all employers must pay into Employment Insurance (EI) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). These deductions come off of an employee's paycheque and are submitted on your behalf. However, additional benefits are not guaranteed for part-time workers. Be sure to ask about this during your interview process.

Fewer advancement opportunities

While a part-time position can expand your professional network and your transferable skills, the chance of you moving up in a company decreases. Typically, management and supervisory roles require a full-time schedule. This means that unless you work a full 35 to 40 hours a week, they might overlook you for a promotion. If you're willing to move into a full-time role, have an open and honest discussion with your employer and let them know you'll consider full-time employment for the right opportunity.

Feeling left out as part of a bigger team

If you enjoy the social aspects of work, then a part-time position may make you feel left out. As a part-time schedule always requires fewer hours than full-time employees, social gatherings and team-building activities may not present themselves as often. This can lead to feeling disconnected within the group. This does not affect everyone equally, and if you're introverted you may love the part-time relationship with your colleagues. However, it's important to know that you may feel disconnected if you value socialization and work friends.


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Part-time job examples

If you're interested in part-time employment, begin by looking at how many hours you want to work each week and the type of work you want to do. Assess your skills and abilities and then begin your job search by looking on job boards for companies and positions that match your needs. Here are six roles that are often available on a part-time basis:

Administrative assistant

An administrative assistant offers support within an office environment. Filing, preparing documents, answering emails, and data entry are typical aspects of the role. Many organizations hire a part-time administrative assistant during busy times of the year, during special projects, or to cover vacation or extended leave of staff. Administrative assistants may also freelance their services virtually, then known as virtual assistants, allowing even more flexibility in hours and working location.


A bookkeeper maintains financial records for a company or organization. Using either a manual or electronic accounting system, they organize and record payables and receivables, complete bank account reconciliations, write pay cheques, and submit tax and other mandatory documents. Bookkeepers may be self-employed and offer their services to other companies or may work for one organization.

Graphic designer

A graphic designer creates visual content and collateral for businesses and organizations. The graphic content includes social media posts, advertising materials, product and packaging concepts, and print materials. Graphic designers may be self-employed while working on several projects or be directly employed by a company, such as an advertising firm.


Part-time employment in translation is something to consider for people with a fluent understanding of a secondary language. A translator takes written material in one language and translates it into another. Having a sound foundation in a particular area, like medical translation, is in even higher demand. Companies often hire translators to create accurate translations of documents, articles and reports, offering freelancing and project-based work.


A tutor specializes in a particular area of education, such as elementary school, high school, university, or college-level subjects. They work individually or with small groups to help students understand the subject and improve their comprehension and grades. A tutor may also provide pre-exam preparation. Tutors work part-time hours in the evenings and on weekends for educational organizations and tutoring businesses or are self-employed.


Writers commonly work part-time, freelance, or are self-employed. A writer can work for various industries and organizations to offer content, from general articles and novels to precise technical writing. Blogs, magazines, newspapers, social media managers, and website developers hire writers to create unique content and documents. Writing is an ideal job for someone who wants to work part-time with flexible hours and in any location.

Related: 15 Part-Time Jobs for Parents (With Salaries and Job Duties)

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

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