What are employee rights to benefits?

My employer states they do not have to pay benefits (holidays, sick leave etc.) because they consider me to be “part-time” even though I work 32 hours a week and have for two years. What is the definition of part-time vs. full-time? Is there such a thing as a regular, permanent part-time employee that is legally entitled to benefits?


Rita Risser’s Response:

Holidays, sick leave, vacation and other such benefits are not required by law, even for regular full-time employees. Employers give those benefits out of the goodness of their hearts. In my experience, one of the reasons employers have part-time employees is to avoid paying benefits.


Can employer have different benefits for exempts and nonexempts?

My employer offers identical health insurance, sick leave and vacation benefits for all full-time employees — both hourly and salaried. However, only salaried employees are offered stock options and paid company holidays. Hourly full-time workers are just expected to enjoy a day off without pay. Is that legal here in California?

Rita Risser’s response:

Yes it is legal in California and also under federal law. There is no such thing as a legally required paid holiday. Nor are health insurance, sick leave or vacations required to be granted by employers. This falls in the category of “count your blessings.”


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