What is a full-time job?
Culturally, in workplaces everywhere, a person who works around 40 hours per week is considered a full-time employee. But this is not a fixed, law-regulated number. It may vary depending on the state, industry, or employer.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies workers based on their working hours as:
- Full-time employees usually work 35 or more hours a week;
- Part-time employees are those working less than 35 hours a week.
Key benefits of full-time jobs
Besides a fixed schedule usually set to 8 working hours/ day from Monday to Friday, employers provide various benefits to their full-time employees.
- Sick leave: Full-time employees can benefit from a specific number of annual sick days. This period allows them to focus on their health rather than worry about job security.
- Paid time off: Almost every employer provides their full-time workers an annual Paid Time Off (PTO). During these days, the full-time employee may take time off from work while still receiving compensation.
- Maternity leave: Some companies may offer paid or unpaid maternity leave to their full-time employees who become pregnant while working for the organization.
- Flexible schedules: Lately, full-time employees in many organizations can choose when to work their weekly hours. For example, they can work 9 hours/ 4 days a week and have a short fifth working day. Or they can work 10 hours for four days and have a 3-day long weekend.
- Health benefits: The most common health benefits a company may provide to its full-time employees include health insurance, dental insurance, and paid medical leave.
Is working 32 hours considered full-time?
A 32-hour workweek is considered full-time, according to the Affordable Care Act.
We do also recommend to checking with a specialized lawyer in your state, because there are granularities: For example, as per the regulations of Texas, an employee who works thirty-two hours a week can be considered a full-time worker provided their schedule is similar to that of other full-time employees in the same company or locality.
What is a part-time job?
A part-time job involves an employee working fewer hours per week than a full-time employee.
In the United States, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) considers a part-time employee anyone who works less than 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines part-time as working between 1 and 34 hours a week. However, these are not legal definitions; they only have statistical purposes.
Part-time schedules may vary depending on the employers' needs, positions, or industry. Part-time employees may work short shifts daily or one or two long shifts weekly.
Working part-time is an excellent option for individuals with additional commitments outside work, such as students or caregivers. This opportunity allows them to gain experience and improve their income while pursuing their primary interests.
Key benefits of part-time jobs
Organizations may offer several benefits to their part-time staff in the current workplace environment. A satisfactory resolution would be for employers to provide partial benefits to their part-time workers.
Working part-time provides many attractive and meaningful benefits. Part-time jobs can be ideal for individuals who want flexible working hours, a better work-life balance, or additional income.
- More free time: Arguably, the main benefit of a part-time job is the opportunity to maximize free time. Spending less time at work enables people to pursue extracurricular activities, focus on loved ones, or work towards their professional goals.
- Improving personal income: This benefit is strongly related to the previous one: having more time on their plates, individuals can work more than one job and earn extra money.
- Access to new job opportunities: Workers may accept a part-time job and flexible schedules within the organization when a company has no full-time positions. This opportunity helps them gain experience and become the obvious candidate when a full-time job becomes available.
- Improved health and overall well-being: Less work means less stress. Part-time employees focus more on their mental and physical health; they exercise more, enjoy sunny outdoors, and sleep better. Also, part-time workers experience less financial stress as they learn to align spending with their income and avoid lifestyle inflation.
- Better time management skills: Rather often, a part-time job comes in addition to other significant commitments: completing education, obtaining a certificate or a diploma in a new industry, or taking care of a child or an elder. Part-time employees have excellent time management skills as they must juggle work requirements and outside tasks.
The main contrasts between a full-time and a part-time job
Besides the amount of working hours, several aspects differentiate a part-time job from a full-time one. Both styles have pros and cons; understanding these differences helps you build a happy workplace with satisfied employees.
Contrast 1: Schedule
Time commitment is the key difference between full and part-time workers. Here are the main contrasts:
- Working hours: The International Labor Organization defines a part-time worker as an “employed person whose normal hours of work are less than those of comparable full-time workers.”
- Flexibility: Working fewer hours and having a flexible schedule allows part-time employees to devote time and energy to other interests and hobbies.
- Working timetable consistency: Usually, full-time employees have the same schedule each week, while part-time workers have their schedules fluctuating, depending on the company's needs.
Contrast 2: Remuneration and benefits
Here are the most significant distinctions between full- and part-time job compensations and benefits:
- Compensation: Part-time workers receive an hourly wage, while full-time employees earn a fixed, stable salary.
- Health insurance: Unlike part-time employees, full-time workers are eligible for company-sponsored health insurance. However, employers may grant this benefit to part-time workers, as well.
- Vacation days: It is up to the employer to give paid or unpaid vacation days to employees. As a rule, full-time employees get more vacation days than their part-time colleagues.
Contrast 3: Workload and responsibilities
When discussing responsibilities and workload, we see the following differences:
- Spending fewer hours at work inevitably leads to fewer responsibilities and a reduced number of tasks.
- Full-time employees are usually more productive and responsible for their work.
- Being around more than their part-time colleagues means that the full-time employees are available for additional responsibilities and tasks. Accepting new roles makes full-time employees more visible and eligible for rewards and career advancement.
Contrast 4: Workplace environment and culture
The workplace environment offers nuances when it comes to the contract type of employment:
- Hiring part- or full-time employees impacts a workplace environment and culture. If the current full-time staff feels overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities, recruiting part-time employees provides some relief and increases the overall employee experience.
- Since they spend fewer hours at work, part-time employees may show lower loyalty toward the organization's mission and values, decreasing engagement and productivity.
- Again, because of the reduced schedule, part-timers are less involved in the organizational culture and may contribute less than their full-time colleagues to achieve company goals. This lack of commitment affects the morale of full-time teammates.
Contrast 5: Personal circumstances
Sometimes, personal circumstances impact the choice between part- or full-time employment.
- Working less means spending more qualitative time with the significant ones or pursuing higher education or a hobby.
- On the contrary, if you want to gain more money and additional, better benefits, a full-time position is the option that fits you best.
Full-time vs. part-time checklist for managers
As an employer, you have sufficient insights to make a data-driven decision regarding your workforce. Yet, it still can be daunting to put them into action.
Here is our checklist to help you choose what fits best for your organization.
I need this employee to work more than 35 hours per week
I need this employee to work fewer than 35 hours per week
I need this person in the office from 9-to-5, Monday to Friday
I need a person available to work flexible hours
I want to pay a fixed salary for this job
I prefer to pay overtime when is necessary
I want an employee that is entirely loyal to my company
I don’t mind if my employee has another job in a different company
My business is stable, and I can precisely identify the need of personnel
I own a startup, and my staff needs are not clearly defined yet
Full-time vs. part-time takeaways
- Thirty hours per week is the average for a part-time job.
- Forty hours per week is the average for a full-time job.
- Benefits and job perks are available for both working types. Part-time employees may receive partial benefits depending on company policy.
- Part-time work is flexible, while full-time is often from 9-to-5, five days a week.
- Full-time jobs are usually salaried; part-time employees are paid hourly.