Full-time hours

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full-time hours

Across the globe, the definition of “full-time” employment varies significantly, influenced by cultural norms, economic conditions, and labor regulations. While the 40-hour workweek is a standard benchmark in countries like the United States, other nations, such as France, lean towards a 35-hour week. Furthermore, some countries in Asia are known for longer working hours, whereas Nordic countries often prioritize work-life balance with shorter work weeks. 

This diverse tapestry of work-hour norms is a testament to the wide-ranging approaches to productivity, leisure, and well-being in different cultural and economic contexts. Let’s explore how “full-time” is defined across various nations and the implications of these variations.

Full-time hours in the US

In the US, a typical workweek is 40 hours – five days a week, eight hours a day. However, definitions vary. Some employers see 37.5 hours as full-time, accounting for a 30-minute lunch daily, while for others, 35 hours, including a one-hour lunch, is full-time. Though the common benchmark is 40 hours, other factors might influence this number.

Benefits of working full-time

  • Eligibility for benefits such as health and dental insurance.
  • Access to paid vacation and sick days.
  • Generally, there is more job security compared to part-time roles.
  • A routine that offers a structured lifestyle.

What perks come with full-time work? Often, full-time positions come with:

  • Paid vacations.
  • Sick leave.
  • Health and dental insurance.
  • Retirement plans with matching contributions.
  • Stock ownership opportunities. 

Beyond federal requirements, companies can customize their benefit packages.

How is full-time defined by employers? 

In the US, most employers see 40 hours a week as full-time. But, some base it on shifts rather than hours, which is less usual. 

The IRS provides guidance on this. A full-time employee, according to them, works at least 30 hours weekly or 130 hours monthly. They suggest two methods to assess this:

Monthly measurement – check if an employee’s service reaches 130 hours every month.

Look-back measurement – evaluate an employee’s status during a “stability period” based on their service hours in the prior “measurement period.”

What about salaried workers? 

Usually, salaried employees work a minimum of 40 hours weekly. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t specify full-time for them, allowing employers to set their criteria. Some salaried roles, due to their specialized nature, are exempt from typical hourly tracking and overtime rules under the FLSA.

Even if deemed full-time, an employee might not get all the perks. A worker putting in 35 hours might miss out on health benefits if the company’s threshold is 40 hours.

Notably, in the European Union, the Working Time Directive caps the average working week at 48 hours. Yet, individual countries can have variations. For instance, France’s standard workweek is 35 hours.


As your outstaffing partner, MWDN analyzes the norms of full-time hours and full-time employee benefits in countries where you hire to make sure that your dedicated developers work according to your agreement and get all the benefits they deserve based on their type of employment.


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