How Many Hours is Part-Time Employment?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 25, 2022 | Published May 17, 2021

Updated August 25, 2022

Published May 17, 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.

Whether looking to expand your professional network, make extra income or learn a new skill, finding a part-time job is a solution. In this article, we discuss how many hours constitute part-time employment in Canada, the benefits and disadvantages of part-time hours and provide six suggestions for common part-time jobs.

How many hours is considered 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 as part-time, with full-time hours being defined as over 30 hours per week.

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

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

What are the benefits of working part-time?

The benefits of working a part-time position can make up for any disadvantages, depending on your priorities and expectations. Here are several positive benefits part-time work can provide:

Gain transferable skills and experience

A part-time job offers the opportunity to learn new skills by working in an industry you haven't tried before or by taking on responsibilities you have yet to experience. The work you do in a part-time job is as valuable as a full-time position, especially in perfecting transferable skills. Qualities to develop within part-time work include interpersonal, communication and time management skills. You can proudly hold on to these skills and use them in your next part-time or full-time position.

Entry to new opportunities

A part-time job offers you valuable work experience, crucial to breaking into a new career or industry. For example, if you want to work in the medical field, working part-time in a community health clinic can open up opportunities that your newfound experience provides. It is also common for companies to offer newly available full-time positions to their valuable part-time employees. Working a part-time job provides incredible opportunities not posted or advertised on job boards, whether it's an unfamiliar experience or an entirely new position.

Supplemental income

Working a part-time position earns additional income. Whether you're a full-time student or an established professional looking to make some extra pocket money, having a part-time job can help you achieve your financial goals. Many companies acknowledge that their part-time staff have other commitments, like school, a family or a career and commonly work with flexible schedules. Adding extra income to your financial budget may be the difference between a local vacation or a tropical family holiday.

Opportunity to pursue other interests

Working a part-time role affords you more time to pursue other interests that a full-time position may not accommodate. Perhaps you want to learn a new skill, develop a hobby or work on starting your own business. Having the flexibility of a part-time position allows you to focus more of your attention on the things that matter most to you. Typically, part-time positions also allow for greater flexibility in the hours of work. For example, a full-time position has set standard hours, usually nine to five, Monday to Friday. In contrast, a part-time role may allow you to choose the hours you wish to work or break up your work hours over the course of the week into time blocks that accommodate your schedule.

Build your professional network

Not only does working in a part-time position offer new experiences and skills, but it can also help you build your professional network. Trying a different industry or position can open you up to various people that you may not have met otherwise. Building your professional network accelerates your career, introduces you to new people, and presents you with opportunities you might not yet know about.

Related: 19 Companies That Offer Part-Time Jobs With Benefits

What are the disadvantages of working part-time?

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

Working more or fewer hours than expected

Often, part-time position hours can be unpredictable and cause a potentially erratic work schedule. Because your employer isn't obligated to provide a set amount of hours, your working hours may fluctuate from week to week. This can cause scheduling challenges or affect your paycheque. Ways to overcome this disadvantage are to find a part-time position with consistent working hours or speak with your supervisor to express your concerns.

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 only work 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 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.

Part-time job examples

If you're interested in working a part-time job, begin by looking at how many hours you want to commit per 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 jobs that often offer part-time hours:

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 a busy time 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 of hours and working location.

Bookkeeper

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 payment 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 directly employed by a company, such as an advertising firm.

Translator

If you have a fluent understanding of a secondary language, then a part-time role in translation is something to consider. 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.

Tutor

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, tutoring businesses or are self-employed.

Writer

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 all hire writers to create unique content and documents. Becoming a writer is an ideal job for someone who wants to work part-time with flexible hours and in any location.

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