Knowing what constitutes a full-time employee in Minnesota allows an employer to make decisions about how many employees may need to be hired, or how many extra benefits full-time employees might need. However, while Minnesota law addresses things like what constitutes a work week or when overtime must be paid, it does not set the number of hours for a full-time employee.

Full-Time Hours

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Minnesota law doesn’t define what full-time employees or part-time employees are. However, while the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act also does not set full-time work hours, the U.S. Department of Labor says that it is generally left up to the employer to determine what constitutes a full-time employee.

Work Week

While the state doesn’t set how many hours a full-time employee works, it does set the time frame in which those hours are worked. State law defines a work week as seven consecutive 24-hour periods. The 168-hour week is also fixed, and regularly recurring. One the work week is established, it remains fixed. It can change only if the change is permanent, and not a way for the employer to avoid paying overtime. In the absence of any other designation of a work week, a calendar week is used.


Overtime needs to be paid when an employee works more than 48 hours in a work week. Overtime is at least one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. Minnesota also allows for overtime to be paid at one-and-a-half hours for each hour of overtime worked. Employees can also be hired to work normal work weeks greater than 48 hours with no overtime pay, if the conditions of the Fair Labor Standards Act are met.

40 Hours

Minnesota law is worded and structured, through its determination of overtime and length of workdays or when breaks are required, such that the underlying assumption is that a full-time employee works 40 hours, generally as five 8-hour workdays, in a work week. An employer can consider fewer total hours as full-time with little restriction, but longer work weeks tend to have various exceptions and conditions imposed on them.