Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

The Definition of a Full Time Job

The hours that are required to earn a living depend on several factors. The industry in which a person is employed has a lot to do with the time they spend on the job.

Some full-time job positions require more than eight hours a day to fulfil the responsibilities of the tasks assigned to them. Other jobs require less hours to perform the duties for what would normally be considered a full-time job.

Definition of Full-Time Job

The U.S. Department of Labor does not delineate the actual definition of what is meant by the term "full-time job." The information refers to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which suggests that the employer has the responsibility of clarifying an employee's status in this regard. However, the standard work week as it has come to be understood is a 40-hour time period within one week. Another interpretation of the definition of a full-time job is one that requires a minimum of 35 hours per week, depending on the situation of employment.

9 to 5 Jobs

This category is what most people think of when they imagine a full-time job. This standard of employee working hours came into being mainly as a result of the influence of trade unions. In the last century, before unions gained a foothold in the workplaces of America, the hours that an employee spent in a daily shift was decided by the owner of the business and their management personnel.

Many jobs in the manufacturing sector that was so prevalent in that era required a 12-hour day from each employee. After years of struggle by newly formed trade unions to negotiate better working conditions, the standard eight-hour workday was established, reflected in the "9 to 5" aspect of a full-time job.

Aspect of Hours Worked

It is important to clarify just what a regular work week entails when interviewing for a position. This is an important aspect to have confirmed, in writing, so that both parties are in clear agreement as to the hours the employee will be expected to work during each pay period to be considered a full-time employee.

Factors Affecting Workweek

How the hours in a work week are completed vary. Some employers have irregular hours of operation, others require what is known as a "split shift" or a "rotating shift" as part of their standard business practices. In these and other situations, the understanding as to how many hours are required to complete a work week still needs to be clarified in advance.


Compensation is the most important aspect of defining the hours required in a full-time job. Full-time employees are usually eligible for other benefits, such as health coverage, overtime compensation, and participation in pensions and profit-sharing programs. This is an accepted aspect of employer-employee relations, yet there are no laws on the books that mandate these aspects of compensation. The best approach to knowing exactly what is expected of the employer and the employee is to put all aspects of employment in writing before accepting a position.