What Are the Minimum Hours for Part-Time Positions per Week?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 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.

There are a few key differences between full-time and part-time jobs. For example, depending on the employer, part-time positions may not qualify for the same perks and benefits as full-time positions. Fewer hours per week typically results in more flexibility, allowing you to work additional jobs or invest in your education. In this article, we discuss what part-time means, detail what the minimum hours for part-time positions are per week and show why part-time positions may be a good fit for you, depending on your goals and schedule.

What are the minimum hours for part-time positions per week?

Part-time hours are blocks of time that employees work that meet the requirements of Hong Kong law. The law state that part-time employees work less than 18 hours per week. Employees that work longer than four weeks for any single employer are subject to the rights afforded to them by Hong Kong labour laws, including:

  • Wage payment protection: An employer pays your wages for the time you work and cannot withhold wages for various reasons. The law protects all part-time and full-time employees from unfair withholding or garnishment.

  • Restrictions on wage deductions: The law places significant restrictions on employers' ability to perform wage deductions. This helps keep wages fair and accountable.

  • Statutory holidays: Hong Kong law allows employees to take time off on weekends. This provision protects the workers' rights to time off work and prevents employer exploitation.

  • Maternity protection: Hong Kong law provides maternity protection to new and expecting mothers, including prohibitions on labour types and intensity and maternity leave.

  • Employment status protection: Part-time employees have specific protections under Hong Kong law against unlawful termination from their positions.

  • Protection against discrimination: Hong Kong law also provides part-time employees with protections against discrimination, especially for discrimination on the basis of union status.

Pros and cons of part-time hours

There are many factors to think through before choosing a part-time position. While you may consider the company, role, commute time and compensation, it's also important to compare the advantages and disadvantages of part-time positions. Here are some of the potential pros and cons:

Pros of working part-time hours

Part-time positions are a great option for individuals who desire a steady income without a rigid full-time schedule. Here are a few examples of part-time job benefits:

  • Greater flexibility: Part-time jobs are typically more flexible than full-time positions and sometimes allow you to create your own schedule. This is beneficial if you have other obligations, such as caring for a loved one, working another job or attending school.

  • Supplemental income: Part-time jobs are a good source of additional, steady income that can supplement other full or part-time jobs. You might also acquire a part-time job to support your lifestyle while pursuing other goals like starting your own business or going to school.

  • Opportunity to pursue other interests: A part-time role can allow you to pursue other interests or career opportunities outside of work.

  • Legal protection: Part-time employees in Hong Kong receive the same legal protections for their labour and rights as citizens as full-time employees, without a commitment to full-time work.

  • Transferrable skills: Part-time jobs can help you learn important industry hard skills and transferrable soft skills you can take to other positions.

  • Work-life balance: Part-time employees typically have more time to dedicate to home life and relationships and create a better balance between work and personal life.

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Cons of working part-time hours

While part-time positions can certainly be beneficial for some, there are a few factors to consider before choosing this job type:

  • Eligibility for benefits: While some employers offer benefits for part-time positions, many do not. During the hiring process, ask the employer about benefits you require, such as health insurance coverage or paid time off.

  • Possibility of less income: Whether you're paid a fixed salary or by the hour, part-time positions sometimes offer less compensation than full-time positions.

  • Fewer advancement opportunities: Many management-level positions require a full-time commitment. If you can't work full-time, you may not be eligible for certain promotions.

  • Scheduling conflicts: While most part-time positions offer a more flexible schedule, some part-time employees are called into work when they're needed, creating scheduling conflicts with personal affairs.

  • Job security: Many employers make significant investments in full-time employees, but may be less willing to make investments in part-time employees. This means part-time employees may be expendable.

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Common types of part-time work schedules

Individuals in part-time positions can work shorter workdays or fewer days per week than their full-time counterparts. There are many types of work schedules available to professionals interested in part-time work. Here are a few popular part-time working arrangements:

Freelance schedule

Employers hire freelancers on a contract basis. Depending on the position and the employer's needs, they may work remotely or on-site. While freelancers usually aren't eligible for benefits, they may enjoy more flexibility and autonomy than traditional employees. Freelancers can work their own hours under employer deadlines, may require less supervision and have more freedom to work from home, their favourite coffee shop or some other area. Freelancers can also choose to accept or decline clients and work requests to better fit their schedule and needs and typically set their own prices or salaries.

Alternate schedule

Schedules that vary from any other schedule type currently used by an employer are alternate schedules. Alternate scheduling may accommodate specific or temporary employee needs that arise due to pregnancy, family issues or medical requirements. An alternate schedule might include night hours, several shifts in a day or small blocks of time throughout the workweek.

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Split schedule

When an employee has several hours off between shifts, they have a split schedule. For example, an employee may work from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then again from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. This is an excellent arrangement for people who have outside obligations that prevent them from working long shifts or for employees who need a break between strenuous tasks. Split scheduling allows for a more customisable and flexible work week and provides an opportunity to balance work and home life.

On-call schedule

When on-call, an employee stays available to work whenever necessary as required by an employer. On-call schedules generally rotate among employees, so no one has to be on call all the time. On-call schedules are common in positions with emergency services, such as doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics and social services. These positions often have fluctuating labour needs and require a more flexible and attentive workforce.

Static schedule

Some part-time employees work a normal schedule or during normal business hours, but have shorter shifts. For example, if a store is open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., a part-time employee may work only five hours each day, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Part-time employees in static schedules typically help support full-time employees by filling time blocks for breaks, shift changes or other events.

What kind of jobs offer part-time options?

If you're looking for a job, you may want to know which specific industries typically offer part-time positions. Most industries have at least one job that qualifies as part-time, but these industries often have many positions that are solely part-time:

  • Food and beverage: Many restaurants and food service businesses employ part-time employees. Rotating shifts and split shifts are common in food service to meet fluctuating demand during meal times.

  • Health care: There are several entry-level health care positions that require a part-time commitment. Many health aide-type jobs are part-time, as are assistant or support staff jobs.

  • Sales and retail: Retail stores and other sales environments often offer part-time positions to stagger their workforce across different busy hours or seasons. For example, you might find part-time work in a retail store during holiday seasons to meet high demands.

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Should you work a part-time position?

Part-time jobs are common in many industries and offer several pros and cons. Part-time positions offer many benefits but may limit your ability to advance in your career field. With a more flexible schedule, you might have a better work-life balance, but you may have to adopt an uncommon schedule. The decision to work in a part-time position depends on your career goals, personal obligations and wage requirements.

A part-time position is often a good option for students and professionals looking for more flexibility in their schedules. Most industries offer part-time positions, so there are plenty of options to choose from for your next job.

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