Should a part-time employee working full-time hours get benefits?

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Should a part-time employee working full-time hours get benefits?

After a week of being hired by my employer they bumped up my hours to 35-40 a week. I was promised that they would change me over to full-time. I waited patiently and over a month and a half; later I was told they would not make me full-time officially. Even though in the employee handbook they say that 32 hours or more is full-time. So for almost a year I’ve been working with no holidays, vacation or sick pay, or benefits, despite working hard.

Asked on August 11, 2011 Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Even though everyone uses the terms "full time" and "part time," they have no legal effect--the law does not distinguish between full and part time employees.

Whether you are owed benefits, holidays, sick, or vacation pay depends on (1) whether there is any employment agreement between you and your employer (if there is, check its terms), or (2) what are the company's policies in this regard. Generally speaking, and to oversimplify somewhat, companies need to apply their own internal policies consistently. So, while there is no law requiring companies to provide sick or vacation days at all, if they choose to do so, they have to give them to everyone meeting the criteria. So if the employee handbook sets out a policy that anyone working 32 hours or more gets benefits, etc., from what you write, it seems you should, too. You should take a copy of the handbook to an employment law attorney, with whom you can discuss the situation in detail, and who can advise you as to your rights and how to vindicate them.


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