If you were hired to work part-time for your employer and you continuously work full-time hours, it's only natural to expect to receive full-time benefits. In order to receive these benefits, the human resource department will have to reclassify you as a full-time worker. Companies have the right to set their own standards for full-time and part-time employment, but there are some measures you can take to get reclassified.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides standards on minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping and child labor laws. It does not, however, define full-time or part-time employment. It is up to your employer to define how many hours you are required to work each week to be considered full-time. Certain government programs, such as the Affordable Care Act, may help define full-time status.
Affordable Care Act
According to the Affordable Care Act, an employee is considered full-time if he works at least 30 hours per week or at least 130 hours in a month. To determine your status if you work variable hours, your employer will look back at a prior measurement period of between three to twelve months. If you worked for at least 30 hours a week during the measurement period, you would be considered full-time for a subsequent future period of at least six months, but no shorter than the measurement period.
Human resources use work status as a a way to differentiate who is eligible for benefits. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, an employer may legally have a different set of benefits for part-time workers or no benefits at all. Check with your employee handbook to see how your company defines work status. Find out how many days in a row you can work full-time before you are considered a full-time employee.
Ask your employer for a re-evaluation if you have worked full-time hours as specified in your handbook. Your employer will evaluate whether there will be an end to the extended hours. The extra hours may be needed for an extended project. You may be working more hours because of the upcoming holidays, or to help cover summer vacations. In each case, your employer can set the standards for full or part time, but evaluations should be ongoing.
Contact an Attorney
Contact an employment attorney if you find you have worked full-time for the length of time specified in your employee handbook and your employer won't classify you as full-time. An attorney can advise you of any claims you may be able to file with the Labor Department, and he can advise you of any benefits you may be entitled to.
- Texas Workforce Commission: Part-Time / Full-Time Status
- U.S. Department of Labor: Work Hours
- U.S. Department of Labor: How Many Hours Is Full-Time Employment?
- Internal Revenue Service: Determining Full-Time Employees For Purposes of Shared Responsibility For Employers Regarding Health Coverage
- U.S. Department of Labor: Question: What Is the Fair Labor Standards Act?
- The University of Chicago: Full/Part Time Status Change
- The Washington Post: Small business advice: How to Count Full-Time and Part-Time Employees Under Obamacare
Based in Atlanta, Melody Dawn has been writing business articles and blogs since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and "USA Today." She is also skilled in writing product descriptions and marketing materials. Dawn holds a Master of Business from Brenau University.