NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Part-Time Doesn't Mean What It Used To

November 2, 1998

As more women are moving into professional and managerial positions, and as the typical workweek has lengthened, the definition of part-time worker has changed, according to labor experts. Now part-timers are working what used to be considered full-time hours -- 35 to 40 hours a week.

  • The average workweek for a professional or manager has stretched in the last 20 years to almost 48 hours from 45, according to a 1997 study by the Families and Work Institute.
  • Roughly one-third of salaried part-time employees surveyed in a 1997 National Study of the Changing Work Force said they spent at least 35 hours on the job.
  • Women now make up 68 percent of the traditional part-time work force and 41 percent of the full-time work force.
  • In past decades, employees who requested part-time hours were usually paid less and did not receive benefits -- but that has changed.

Employers are reportedly more willing to be flexible and not demand such adjustments.

Source: Reed Abelson, "Part-Time Work for Some Adds Up to Full-Time Job," New York Times, November 2, 1998.


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