Part-Time VS Full-Time Employees | Pros & Cons Inside

Full time employees working at their computers in a modern office.

If you’re applying for jobs at different companies, one of the things you’ll want to understand is the difference between a part-time and a full-time employee. Many job candidates want to have a firm grasp of these differences so they can make informed decisions.

You have the option of deciding whether to become a full-time or part-time employee. This is mostly dictated by the stage you’re at in your career. For instance, a job candidate looking to build a long-term career would start as a full-time employee. On the other hand, a job candidate looking to make some money while they pursue something else might consider a part-time role.

Nonetheless, this guide will provide you with all you need to know about part-time and full-time employees. You will learn the differences in work hours, perks, and many other distinguishing areas between these two forms of employment.


Key Differences Between Part-Time VS Full-Time Employees

Female handwriting on a a calendar whiteboard filled with a busy work schedule.

The differences between these job classifications cut across numerous aspects of employment. These include work schedules, employee benefits, taxes, and hours, among others. This section will take you through all you need to know about the features of each job type.


— Work Schedule

Flexibility is one of the biggest features of a part-time job. If you love to work on weekends or select shifts, becoming a part-time employee is the right option. This accounts for why most part-time employees are students and parents who only have some time to spare to make some funds.

On the flip side, a full-time employee has more obligations. If you fall into this category, your employer will often require your availability all through the week. Full-time employees work no less than 40 hours a week and might even work more, depending on the nature of the job. This is why full-time jobs are referred to as “9-5 jobs.”

You should also note that most full-time jobs have the same schedule across the year, as opposed to part-time jobs, which can be seasonal.

— Pay

The pay structure for part-time and full-time employees differs. Part-time employees are paid by the number of hours they spend working. Therefore, these employees clock in and out as they resume and end their shifts. They might also be required to submit their timesheets to their employers.

Full-time employees, on the other hand, are often salaried. They receive a flat sum of money each month. As such, while part-time employees‘ earnings may fluctuate based on the number of hours they clock in monthly, salaried employees have a fixed amount to receive.

Nonetheless, full-time employees tend to earn higher than part-time employees. One notable reason for this is that most full-time employees are offered job employment based on their specialized skills.

If a full-time employee receives their pay per hour, they are referred to as “nonexempt.” On the flip side, “exempt” employees are salaried monthly. The difference here is that nonexempt employees are paid for extra hours while exempt employees aren’t.

— Hours

Full-time employees generally work between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Part-time employees, on the other hand, work per shift. This means they can decide on the hours they work, whether morning, noon, or night shifts. Consequently, they have irregular hours and will be paid based on their timesheets.

— Taxes

Employers are required to withhold payroll taxes from all employees, irrespective of the status of their employment (full-time or part-time). This means that both part-time and full-time employees have tax obligations, which the employer must ensure they fulfill.

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the tax percentage for salaried employees may differ based on the bracket in which their annual salary falls.

— Benefits

The benefits that come with each status of employment are also key features that differentiate full-time and part-time employees. Full-time employees often enjoy numerous compensation packages designed to make their lives better and their work worthwhile.

Some of these benefits include health, dental, and life insurance, paid time off (PTO) including federal holidays and vacation periods, and 401 (k) retirement packages, among others.

Part-time employees don’t generally enjoy most of these benefits. They may have access to discounts based on the services offered by the company. They may also enjoy stipends paid at different periods. Essentially, the quality of benefits part-time employees enjoy depends on the employer and the company policy.

— Stability

Due to the nature of full-time employment and the level of specialization involved, companies are more concerned about retaining full-time employees than part-time employees. Employees with full-time status are often highly trained and educated. Additionally, companies spend a lot of resources onboarding this category of employees.

Part-timers don’t generally enjoy the same privilege. Jobs with part-time hours can be easily filled by different individuals, as the tasks therein don’t require technical skills. Therefore, part-time jobs might not attract the stability that comes with full-time employment.

Therefore, if you’ve applied for a full-time role and have yet to hear back from the human resources (HR) department after your interview, be sure to send a follow-up email to improve your chances. After all, securing a full-time role means you enjoy job security.


Pros & Cons Of Part-Time Employees

The two classifications of employees have their pros and cons. As a job candidate, it will be helpful to understand how each employment status plays out before you send out your application for a job opening.


— Pros Of Part-Time Employment

  • Work-life balance: One of the most significant features of part-time work is that it affords you time to spend on other obligations. You can clock in and clock out at the agreed hours. This makes it easy to spread your hours across the week conveniently. Therefore, you can easily plan your life without compromising on your job deliverables.
  • No technical experience: To take on part-time roles, you don’t need much experience, if any at all. These are roles in which you can perform adequately following the onboarding training and some assistance.
  • Pay-per-hour: As a part-time employee, your pay is calculated by the number of hours you work. This means you can increase the number of hours you work (within the permissible hours). This is unlike full-time salaried employees who earn a fixed amount each month.

— Cons Of Part-Time Employment

  • Fewer benefits: Part-time employment generally doesn’t attract as many compensation packages as full-time employment.
  • Low engagement: Part-time employees don’t often work on tasks that contribute significantly to the company’s growth at a high level. This might mean that part-time employees don’t grow beyond the basic day-to-day tasks they execute.
  • Job isn’t too secure: Part-time roles don’t take much to fill up. These roles don’t require technical skills. Therefore, companies don’t pay much attention to retaining part-time employees. Often, they are the first to go when a company faces some challenges.


Pros & Cons Of Full-Time Employees

As a potential full-time employee, you should understand the obligations you’ll have to fulfill and the two sides to the employment status. Below are the pros and cons of full-time employment.


— Pros Of Full-Time Employees

  • Comprehensive benefits: Full-time employees enjoy a more comprehensive set of benefits than part-time employees. These benefits cut across health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation compensation.
  • Increased commitment: Employees in this category spend more time working and take up high-level responsibilities. This impacts their commitment to work by placing them at the center of the company’s productivity.
  • Higher earning capacity: Although full-time employees earn a fixed amount, they work more time daily. Therefore, their monthly salary is generally higher than the summation of part-time employees’ pay.

— Cons Of Full-Time Employees

  • More work, more responsibility: This is not inherently a bad thing. However, it increases the chances of employees facing burnout.
  • No pay for extra hours: As a full-time employee, there will be times when you work outside of the standard 9-5 work hours. This, however, doesn’t attract a pay increase.
  • Less flexibility: Work-life balance is one of the features employees look out for. However, as a full-time employee, this is often difficult to achieve, as you spend more time working.


How Part-Time/Full-Time Hours Are Affected By The Affordable Care Act

To determine an employee’s status of employment, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), based on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), considers an employee full-time once they work a minimum of 30 hours.

This, however, doesn’t determine for the employees when they should put in these hours, leaving business owners with some flexibility to categorize employment status.

Per the ACA, employers become applicable large employers (ALE) once they have a minimum of 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees. Consequently, as an ALE, such an employer should have some healthcare coverage for the employees.


Your Rights Under The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The FLSA is another employment law that regulates various aspects, including minimum wage, record reports, and overtime pay. The FLSA provides that employers have to pay employees overtime if they are nonexempt and work more than 40 hours per week.


Full-Time VS. Part-Time: Which Is Best For You?

A female in a modern workspace, concentrating on writing emails to coworkers.

Deciding on which to go for between full-time and part-time employment requires understanding why you’re getting a job in the first instance. If you’re looking to build a career in a technical field, you should consider working full-time. Companies spend a lot on bringing in new talent to fill full-time roles. This is because these roles are central to the company’s growth and sustainability.

Therefore, your aspirations should form the basis of your choice. You should also look at the company where you’re looking to work and assess the work culture. Full-time employment tends to attract a high level of responsibility. It would be helpful to consider workplaces with a great work culture, as this will make your time at work easier and more enjoyable.

On the flip side, if you’re looking for a place to earn some money while having enough time for other obligations, part-time employment might be the right option. Generally, these roles don’t require technical skills and don’t carry much responsibility. You also have a flexible work structure and can work across shifts. This provides you with a work-life balance that allows you to take on many other things.


The Bottom Line

Full-time and part-time employment both have their pros and cons. When you’re deciding on where to work and what form of employment to pursue, you should consider these advantages and disadvantages. Then, assess them alongside your needs and aspirations. This will make it convenient to choose the right option. You should also prepare a list of questions to ask during your interview.

In this guide, we have discussed all you need to know about full-time and part-time employment. We have considered the laws guiding the number of hours, the factors to consider when choosing either of the categories, and the benefits that come with each. When you contemplate these important factors, you should have no problem making a choice.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is more demanding, part-time or full-time work?

Generally, full-time jobs are more demanding. As a full-time employee, you spend more time working daily. You also work the same number of hours five times a week, and there are cases where you work overtime. Additionally, full-time roles attract more tasks that are central to the company. 

Part-time employees, on the other hand, work fewer hours and have more flexible schedules. This accounts for why full-time employment comes with more compensation packages and also has more job security. Companies generally spend more on retaining full-time employees than part-time workers.


Do part-time employees get sick pay?

Yes, a part-time employee can be paid sick leave. However, they must have first accrued this amount and must also meet certain requirements. Essentially, a part-time employee working 36 hours per week and across three 12-hour shifts will be entitled to paid sick leave. Such an employee will receive 12 hours per day for their sick leave.

Paid sick leave is calculated by determining 1/26th of an employee’s ordinary work hours per year. If this employee doesn’t take their paid sick leave, the accrued amount will roll over into the next year.

Guaranteeing this provides part-time employees with some protection in the course of their work. Therefore, if you’re contemplating taking up a part-time role, this is something you want to ensure you have covered.


Does my employer need to know I have a second job?

Generally, employees are not obligated to disclose to their employers that they have a second job. However, in recent times, employers have included a clause in employment contracts to restrict employees from having another job. In such a case, an employee will be in violation of their employment contract if they take up another job while still currently employed.

Of course, if you’re discreet about it, it’s unlikely the employer will find out. However, this doesn’t change the fact that it’s a violation of your employment contract.


How do I ask my boss to switch to full-time hours?

Depending on the nature of your job, you can ask your boss to switch to full-time hours. Suppose you’re working part-time in a technical role and want to transition into full-time employment; the first step is to reflect on your experience to be sure you have what it takes to transition.

Then, put together your achievements and work experience. This will form the basis of your request. It’s also wise to ask for tips from your manager or supervisor. Once you’ve done these, thank your supervisor and proceed to draft your request. This can go either of two ways. If you meet the qualifications, you might be considered for a full-time offer. If you don’t, you might be asked to try again.


What are the advantages of hiring full-time compared to part-time as an employer?

The straightforward answer to this is that full-time workers are incentivized to stay more committed to work. Since these employees work on core tasks and are also rewarded with different compensation packages, they feel like a part of the company. This makes it convenient for them to be relatively loyal and take up more tasks. Additionally, investing in full-time employees might also be a worthy investment for a company looking at long-term goals.

The downside, of course, is that it takes a lot to onboard full-time employees. If they don’t spend a long time with your company, you might have to spend a similar sum to onboard another employee.