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Part time status- full time hours?

I had a question about the legality of what my employer is doing. Long story short, they have me taking up the hours my coordinator isn't able to do, which is putting em at 40hrs a week. However, they still have me at part time status. I originally verbally agreed to this, but I would like to know if this is illegal in case they push it too far. I work in Massachusetts. They pay me for all my hours, but just don't have me as full time so I don't get the benefits (and as I understand it they probably have my coordinator at full time status and still gives her her benefits, though she only works sat & sun which can't add up to probably more than 24 hrs max.)

Thanks for your help!

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Submitted Wed, 04/10/2013 - 10:53

It sounds like your employer is engaging in some sort of shenanigans relating to your wages. Generally, the Massachusetts Wage laws do not make a distinction between "full-time" and "part-time" but there are various reasons why employers prefer the "part-time" label - usually related to saving money by avoiding obligations to provide benefits.

For example, under the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), your employer would have various obligations if you are full-time, which is defined as working more than 30 hours a week. This isn't a wage law issue, it's a compliance issue for your employer.

What I don't understand is how your employer is paying you for all your hours. If they are indeed paying you for all hours worked, it would (presumably) appear on their records that you are working 40 hours a week. This may cause them problems down the road with the federal government but this isn't something addressed by the Massachusetts Wage & Hour laws.

You may want to sit down with a Massachusetts Wage & Hour attorney to discuss the particulars of your case to see if your employer is indeed complying with all relevant provisions of the Massachusetts Wage & Hour laws.

I agree with attorney Meyerson's comments. This is a common issue because, in the absence of a contract or a union agreement, MA employees are not entitled to benefits.  As far as I know (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong) private sector employers can, under MA law, decide whether to offer benefits or not.  They are also free to define " full-time" and "part-time" as they see fit, subject to the limitations imposed by Obamacare and mentioned by Attorney Meyerson.  Accordingly, it is possible that a Massachusetts employer could define an employee as part-time (no benefits) even though she works the same number of hours as a full-time employee who receives benefits. 

On the other hand, if there is a company policy, perhaps found in an employment handbook, that states, for example, that any employee who works 40 hours per week shall be considered full time and entitled to benefits, then you may be entitled to assert that right.  Good luck.

I was reading another post with the same heading. This is my story: I have two full-time jobs. One were I work at a hotel where I get 40 hours or more a week, year round. That one is not the problem. The other job is for a supermarket. I just averaged out my hours from the last 40 paychecks. My average week comes to 36.74 hours. According to MA Federal Minimum Law, an employee is considered full-time if he or she works a min of 32 hours per week...or 40 depending on the job/employer.
I confronted my store manager a few months back and asked why am I still considered a part-time employee when I was (at the time) working an average of 40 hours a week. He said that he had to get back to me, and when he did...he consideres a full-time employee "flexible" with thier schedule. Per my other job, that just isn't possible. I'm not about to quit one solid job (that is my bread and butter), to be flexible.

I would like to know if I have any legal standing to fight this.

I don't know if this forus is still open...I have a similar situation as the first person's post. I was hired by Hallmark Health Medical Associates in 2014 for 20 hrs per week. As my job responsibilities increased, I was asked to work more hours...this happened with every new task that became mine until I ended up working 37.5 hrs...I did get paid for the hours I worked, but never accrued any vacation time...I took a week's vacation unpaid each year as well as unpaid sick days. I do not need health insurance benefits. From what I understand MA employees must earn at least one sick hour for every 30 hrs worked is now 2018 and I am told I have only 40 hours sick time earned and no PTO time. Our practice has now undergone another merge with Tufts and my hours were cut to 35 hours/week...I am still now showing any accrual of PTO time or sick time...My question is do I have a legal right to fights for four years retroactive time off? I feel that once I worked beyond what they consider part time, I should have begun accruing PTO time. My coworker's hours were cut as well, but she has full time status and continues to accrue time... Thanks for any advice

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