Part-time vs. full-time hours


Q. The Office of Personnel Management defines part-time employment as 16 to 32 hours a week, and full time is “generally” considered 40 hours. What about 33 hours, or any schedule between 33 and 39? How is that classified? I’m guessing 33 hours would be classified full time, but the pay and annuity calculation would be based on the actual number of hours worked. Is that correct? I’m also wondering if one can apply for full-time positions and negotiate a schedule between 33 and 39 hours (provided the agency is amenable).

A. According to OPM, “Once an employee works between 33 and 39 hours (66 and 78 hours a pay period), this is considered to be a full time. A part-time work schedule is from 16 to 32 hours a week.” So it appears that you could apply for a full-time position and, with your agency’s permission, work fewer than 80 hours a pay period.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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