Legal rights concerning "full time" employment

Well, I just hit my 12th week in a row of working 40-48 hours per week. However, I am considered a “part time employee”. I get no vacation time and no benefits. FWIW, I do get overtime pay for anything over 40 hours.

Somehow, I always thought that the definition of part-time meant I didn’t work this many hours without benefits. Otherwise, why wouldn’t companies just call everyone part-time and save a bundle on health insurance?

Anyway, what are the specific legalities regarding part-time and full-time employment? Can I demand benefits after so long?

My intentions aren’t to rock the boat with this, I am just curious. Even if my company is somehow breaking the law I doubt I’d say anything, as I defintely enjoy the extra pay from working so much. $8.25 an hour takes alot of hours to equal rent.

This is in Michigan, btw.

How is it that you are working 40-48 hours and are considered part-time? Were you hired for a regular schedule of fewer hours, but this has been a busy time for the company and they’ve scheduled you for extra hours? That’s what I’m picturing, so if it’s something substantially different that might change things.

A company’s main legal obligation with regard to benefits is to treat similarly situated employees in the same way. So your company probably has a formal definition of part-time and full-time. Federal law gives employers latitude in defining this. Michigan may place some constraints on that. I don’t know. Some definitions I’m familiar with will define someone as full-time if they work over 1250 (or a similar number–nothing magic about 1250) hours in a calendar year. So part-time employees may work 40 hours or more some weeks, but over a year don’t average out to more than, say, 25 hours per week. I suggest checking your employee handbook or HR website to find out how your company defines part-time. If they offer benefits, they almost certainly have a formal definition of it somewhere.

Get in touch with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, Wage and Hour Division:,1607,7-154-27673---,00.html

Basically, what Harriet the Spry said.

Here’s a previous thread:

I seem to remember that when I was hired part time at sears parts and repair, they were allowed to work me full time for up to 16 weeks a year without changing my part time employment status. This meant I had full time during the busy season, and diddly time for the rest of the year.