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Full-Time vs Part-Time Employee: What’s the Difference? (2019 Update)

Full-Time vs Part-Time Employee: What’s the Difference? (2019 Update)

What’s the difference between full time and part time employment? Read this guide to understand which type of employment is best for your business.

19th February 2019

Are you someone running a small business and thinking of expanding your staff to grow your company? Or are you an employee just trying to figure out what you deserve under Australian employment law? The entitlements for part time and full time employees vary significantly and it’s important to know which ones apply.

This article will discuss the difference between part time and full time employees. Whether you’re trying to determine on what basis you’ll hire someone, or what rights you have as an employee – this guide will provide the answers.

Who is a full-time or part-time employee?

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides the definition for full-time and part-time employment. Employment type is based on the ordinary hours of work performed per week. A full-time employee works around 38 hours per week. A part-time employee usually works less than that, with flexible agreements depending on the employer. These hours do not include additional hours.

In contrast to casual employment, both full-time and part-time employees have guaranteed hours of work. They are also provided with the certainty of ongoing work. For more information on casual employment, have a look at our guide on what is a casual employee?.

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What do employees get?

The National Employment Standards (NES) set out the minimum standards that apply to employees. Under this, both full-time and part-time employees can receive NES entitlements relating to:

  • Maximum weekly hours
  • Requests for flexible working arrangements
  • Parental leave and related entitlements
  • Annual leave
  • Personal carers leave and compassionate leave
  • Community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holidays
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • The Fair Work Information Statement

The key difference between part-time and full-time employment is that full-time employees receive the full range of listed minimum entitlements. However, part-time employees receive a reduced fraction of minimum entitlements, such as sick leave, on a pro-rata basis, or based on how many hours they work each week.

How are full-time or part-time employees dismissed?

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that the employer must provide written notice of termination to the employee. This notice must be provided within a specified period of time, depending on how long they have worked with the company and clearly state the last day of work.

Unlike casual employees, full-time and part-time employees cannot be made redundant without notice. For more information on employee redundancy, have a read of our guide on genuine redundancy and the employer requirements when dismissing a full-time or part-time employee.

Changing full-time or part-time hours

If an employee is in full or part-time employment, it’s possible to change it if both parties agree. If the employee would like to change from full-time to casual, the full-time employment agreement is terminated. Similarly, a new casual agreement will replace it. This termination must follow the rules of providing written notice and paying out entitlements such as annual leave.

If the employee does not agree to change employment, an employer can change the terms of the employment without consent, but this depends on the terms of the agreement. LawPath recommends seeking legal advice from an employment lawyer if you are in this situation.

Conclusion – what’s the difference?

For small businesses, the variation in terms of agreement can provide a tailored kind of flexibility to suit your business’s employment needs, however it can also be quite tricky.

So what’s the difference overall? Full-time employees provide structure and stability to your business, and if you would like a full-time employment agreement, LawPath can assist you with our Full Time Employment Agreement. On the other hand, part-time employees, while working less hours, provides flexibility of labour for your business. If you would like a part-time agreement for your business, LawPath can assist you with our Part Time Employment Agreement.

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If you would like an existing agreement reviewed or more information on employment, LawPath recommends getting in touch with an employment lawyer.

Have more questions? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

Richard Yuen
Richard Yuen

Richard is a Paralegal working in our content team which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With an interest in information law, his primary focus is in how the law adapts to govern the use and development of new technology in a modern environment.