When to Hire Part Time vs. Full Time

Every business has goals, and people are required to achieve them. However, these objectives don’t always demand similar schedules for their employees. It may seem most companies would benefit from the steady, dependable efforts of full-time staff, but in some situations, the flexibility of hiring part-time employees makes more sense.

AMNY Recruitment Marketing offers strategic marketing solutions to help businesses reach candidates throughout New York State, across the United States, and worldwide. Here, we discuss the differences between full-time and part-time employment for the employer, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of both.

What Is Full-Time Employment?

Many businesses in the U.S. consider a full-time employee one who works about 40 hours a week. Some organizations use 32 hours as the minimum for a full-time employee. How an employer defines full-time employment will impact the benefits employees may qualify to receive, such as paid time off (PTO), retirement plans, and paid sick leave. Some employers don’t set conditions for working a certain number of hours for salaried employees.

What Is Part-Time Employment?

Federal regulations don’t distinguish part-time employment from full-time employment under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In general, a part-time worker devotes fewer hours per week than a full-time employee.

Part Time vs. Independent Contractor

A key distinction to make is between part-time workers and independent contractors. The latter offer their services to individuals or businesses but are considered self-employed for tax purposes. The employer can direct independent contractors to use certain systems to perform tasks and even provide them with set hours to work, but they cannot dictate when or how independent contractors complete duties.

Because independent contractors are self-employed, you don’t need to pay unemployment insurance tax or some related payroll taxes for them. Conversely, you will still need to pay those taxes for a part-time employee.

How Does Status Affect Employer Responsibilities?  

For the most part, federal labor laws like FLSA don’t set different protections for part and full-time employees. The following are some responsibilities employers should keep in mind when deciding how to hire:

Overtime Pay

FLSA necessitates any employee — full or part time — receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a standard work week. Some employees are exempt from this guideline, and overtime laws may differ depending on the state.

Affordable Care Act

Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the only federal regulation explicitly defining a full-time employee. It states employers that have approximately 50 or more full-time workers in one year (called applicable large employers) must offer minimum health insurance coverage to full-time staff members.

According to ACA, an employee is full time if they work 30 hours or more per week, or 130 hours or more per month. Businesses should note this definition applies only to the employer’s health insurance responsibility and not other employee benefits.

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables workers to take protected leave to meet family obligations. It’s available to part-time and full-time employees who worked for 12 months or more for at least 1,250 hours at the business in the past 12 months. This is about 26 hours per week, meaning some part-time workers may be ineligible.

Beyond the federal and state laws, you should refer to your internal employee handbooks to see the benefits you traditionally extend to part and full-time workers. This can help guide your hiring decision or shed light on aspects you need to change to promote a benefits program that aligns more with the needs of current and prospective employees.

Should I Hire Part Time or Full Time?

There’s no right or wrong answer; whether or not you hire workers full time or part time will depend on your overall goals. If you’re unsure which is best for your business model, consider the following advantages and disadvantages of each:

  • Cost: It’s generally more cost-effective to hire part time as full-time employees often expect higher salaries and benefits. On the other hand, having more benefit-eligible employees can result in more healthcare benefit cost savings for the business.
  • Consistency: Full-time teams may be more reliable with productivity because they work a set schedule and can collaborate with co-workers.
  • Flexibility: Part-time employees have more time to devote to other life responsibilities, which can help them avoid burnout.
  • Organizational planning: It’s typically easier to plan and execute objectives when full-time employees can give ample time and effort to projects.
  • Loyalty: Full-time workers are immersed in the company culture, get to know their co-workers, and usually receive benefits. Their loyalty to your business is likely higher than that of part-time personnel.

Find the Ideal Candidate with AMNY Recruitment Marketing

Will you hire full time, part time, or both? Whatever the answer, you’ll need to think about how you market your open positions and the company to prospective candidates. For assistance, turn to AMNY Recruitment Marketing. Our team of recruitment marketing specialists uses various digital and print solutions to help businesses across multiple industries hire smarter at a more affordable cost. Contact us today to learn more about our strategic approach to recruitment marketing.