Massachusetts law about employment

Print sources and general information on employment law.

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Table of Contents

Full-time vs. part-time

Massachusetts does not have a legal definition for full-time or part-time employees. Please see your employee handbook for your employer’s definition of full-time vs. part-time status.

Black’s Law Dictionary definitions:

  • Employee. Someone who works in the service of another person (the employer) under an express or implied contract of hire, under which the employer has the right to control the details of work performance.
  • Full-Time Employee. One who is hired to work at least the normal number of hours in a workweek as defined by an employer or a statute, usu. 35 to 40 hours.
  • Part-Time Employee. One who is hired to work fewer hours (usu. substantially fewer) than the normal number in a workweek as defined by an employer or a statute.
  • Probationary Employee. A recently hired employee whose ability and performance are being evaluated during a trial period of employment.
  • Seasonal Employee. An employee who is engaged to work for only a certain time of the year when a business anticipates a cyclical increase in demand.

Print sources


Drafting employment documents in Massachusetts, 4th ed., MCLE, loose-leaf.

“There is no legal distinction between part-time employees and full-time employees. Customarily, terms and conditions of part-time and full-time employees are similar, although benefits that are based on scheduled or worked hours are usually prorated. Employers are free (absent collective bargaining constraints) to establish entirely different terms and conditions for part-time employees.”

-- § 1.3.3 Part-time employees, drafting employment documents in Massachusetts, 2021 (MCLE)

Employment law (Massachusetts practice v.45-45A), 3rd edition, Thomson Reuters, with supplement.

Labor and employment in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Lexis, loose-leaf.

Massachusetts employment law, 5th edition, MCLE, 2 v. loose-leaf.

Massachusetts employment law sourcebook and citator, MCLE.

What to do about personnel problems in Massachusetts, BLR, loose-leaf. 


Create your own employee handbook : a legal & practical guide for employers by Lisa Guerin, Nolo, 2021. (eBook available here with library card).

Dealing with problem employees : how to manage performance & personality issues in the workplace, by Amy Delpo, Nolo, 2021. (eBook available at link with library card).

The employer's legal handbook : how to manage your employees & workplace by Fred S. Steingold, Nolo, 2023. (eBook available at link with library card).

The essential guide to federal employment laws by Lisa Guerin, Nolo, 2022. (eBook available at link with library card).

The essential guide to workplace investigations, Nolo, 2022. (eBook available here with library card).

Your rights in the workplace by Sachi Barreiro, Nolo, 2018. (eBook available here with library card).

Additional employment topical pages

Contact for Massachusetts law about employment

Last updated: September 18, 2023

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