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Full-time, part-time and casual employment

Hi Bare Bones Consulting, we need to recruit and not quite sure which category of employment is right for us. Can you provide simple definitions of full-time, part-time and casual employment?

Hey there and thanks for your question. It’s one worth knowing the answer to; most of us have a basic idea but sometimes struggle with the fine print of each category, particularly between full-time and part-time. Let the lesson commence!

Full-time employees

Full-time employees usually work an average of 38 hours each week. These individuals are typically employed on a permanent (in other words, ongoing) basis or on a fixed term contract.

A full-time employee is entitled to paid leave, including:

  • annual leave
  • sick and carer’s leave
  • family and domestic violence leave.

A full-time employee is usually entitled to written notice when their employment ends, or payment instead of notice.

The actual hours of work for a full-time employee in a particular job or industry are agreed between the employer and the employee. Working hours can also be set by an Award or Registered Agreement.

Part-time employees

Part-time employees work less than 38 hours per week and their working hours are usually regular each week. A part-time working arrangement can be considered permanent or the person can be employed on a fixed term contract.

Part-time employees get the same minimum entitlements as a full-time employee, but on a pro-rata basis. This includes paid leave, such as:

  • annual leave
  • sick and carer’s leave
  • family and domestic violence leave.

Casual employees

A person is a casual employee if they accept an offer for a job from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work.

Under the Fair Work Act, a person is a casual employee if:

  • they are offered a job
  • the offer does not include a firm advance commitment that the work will continue indefinitely with an agreed pattern of work
  • they accept the offer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment and become an employee.

Understanding the differences between full-time, part-time and casual employment is important, particularly when you’re considering recruiting for your business. Knowing what terms and conditions apply to each category of employment before you hire can make things easier for you in the long run. One example of a trap for the uninformed? Casual conversion. That’s something you should know about if you have (or are planning to have) casual employees. 

One way to avoid the minefield of employment is to find someone with genuine HR experience to help. Give Bare Bones Consulting a call and let’s have a chat over a coffee to see what we can do for you. Simple, smart and value for money: everything good. 

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