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Table Of Contents

Calculating PTO for Part-Time Employees - An Employer's Handbook

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Table Of Contents

PTO accrual rules for part-time employees can’t just be condensed to scaling the rules for full-time employees down. Some calculations are in order to make sure you’re distributing the PTO for everyone fairly — but fear not! It’s actually not as complicated as it may sound.

We’ve compiled a handy set of everything you should take into account when you calculate PTO for part-timers and included simple instructions at the end. You might want to bookmark this one for later! 🔖

What Constitutes A Part-Time Employee?

“Anyone who works less than 40 hours a week” is the first answer that comes to mind, and it’s technically true.

However, here’s how part-time work is defined if you’re operating within the U.S.:

In Canada, there are no specific legal definitions of part-time workers, but a widely accepted consensus is that part-time work amounts to less than 30 hours per week.

In the U.K., there’s no specific definition or number of hours worked that defines full-time and part-time employees, but part-time workers will usually work less than 35 hours per week.

Establishing The PTO Rules And Benefits For Part-Time Employees

The fact that part-time workers work fewer hours doesn’t mean that they can’t take paid time off, much like their full-time coworkers. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the U.S. doesn’t discern between full-time and part-time employees and is to be applied all the same. This means that, regarding PTO, part-time workers have the same rights as full-time workers.

As another example, the U.K. government specifically protects part-time workers from “being treated less favorably” and orders they have the same treatment regarding paid leave.

Each country has bodies of law regulating part-time work in more or less detail, and you should study your employees’ local leave laws first. This will help you determine the amount of PTO and PTO types the part-time workers are entitled to by law.

How To Accrue PTO For Part-Time Employees?

Calculating PTO for full-time employees is easy — just subtract the number of days they took off from the total amount of PTO they have in their reserves, and you’re all set!

But, things get trickier for part-timers.

What if they work varying amounts of hours each day? How many days off do they get, anyway?

Here are several ways to accurately calculate PTO for part-time workers.

Option A: Calculate the standard hourly rate, multiply accordingly

When you calculate how much PTO your full-time employees (40 hours/week) earn per hour, you can easily apply it to part-time workers who have irregular shifts and fewer hours overall.

Let’s go step by step and calculate how much PTO workers get per hour worked:

  • A company awards 20 days (160 hours) of PTO in the calendar year;

  • In 2024, there will be 251 work days, when we subtract federal holidays and weekends;

  • When we subtract the total amount of PTO from the number of working days (251-20), we get a total of 231 days of work in a year.

  • When we divide the number of PTO hours available by the number of working days in a year, we will get the exact number of hours employees get per day of work: 160 hours of PTO / 231 days of work = 0,69 hours of PTO for every day of work, or 0,09 hours of PTO per hour worked.

It’s easy to subtract the number of days your full-time employees took off from their accrued PTO days and work with nice, even figures. 

To adapt this to hourly/part-time workers and get their PTO hours, you must multiply the 0,09 by the number of days they’ve worked. 

So, if a part-time worker has worked 250 hours, they’ve accrued 250*0,09=22,5 hours of PTO.

Option B: Calculate prorated PTO

The total amount of PTO employees are entitled to is based on the full calendar year.

Since most companies hire new staff year-round, you’ll rarely get a perfect situation where they officially start working on the first day of the year. This means that they won’t immediately have all the PTO at their disposal.

So, in most cases, you’ll need to learn how to calculate and apply prorated PTO. 

Here’s an example of how you would calculate prorated PTO for a part-time worker who started working in June and works 25 hours per week:

  • Establish the PTO for full-timers: let’s say that full-time employees earn 120 hours of PTO annually or approximately 2,31 hours of PTO per week;

  • Adjust for part-timers: divide the part-time hours by the full-time hours to get the adjustment factor (25/40 = 0,625);

  • Calculate the weekly PTO for part-time employees: multiply the weekly PTO for full-time employees by the part-time adjustment factor (2.31*0.625 = approximately 1.44 hours of weekly PTO for part-timers);

  • Prorate for the start date: since they started working on June the 1st, calculate the number of weeks remaining until the end of the year (approximately 26 weeks);

  • Calculate the total prorated PTO for the remainder of the year: 26*1,44 = approximately 37,44 hours of PTO for the part-time employee from June to December

Our rich prorated PTO guide contains additional directions and examples for both full-time and part-time employees!

Option C: Use our PTO calculator!

You don’t have to pull out your phone to crunch numbers each time someone wants to take five!

Use our free PTO Accrual Calculator to calculate the amount of time off employees accrue by a certain date, within a specific period, or when they’ll have a specific amount of days or hours free.

For the lucky ones already packing for their dream vacation, we suggest our OOO Email Generator for the perfect reply in a flash.

Leave Management Doesn’t Have To Be A Chore

At least not the one you have to worry about. 

You can easily avoid all the calculations above by delegating the entirety of PTO management to the Vacation Tracker.

Create custom leave policies, leave types, locations with specific legal rules, approval cadence, and more, all accessible with a click or two from the comfort of your email, Slack, Teams, or Google Workspace.

Vacation Tracker comes with customizable notifications, a dashboard, a streamlined calendar for a clear view, and more — try it free for 7 days, no strings attached!

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Anja Milovanovic
Anja Milovanovic

A journalist turned content writer – Anja uses her investigative skills to produce high-quality SaaS, Marketing, and HR content.

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