Labels and titles can sometimes be a tricky thing to understand, but it’s undeniably important to know what they mean to avoid making regrettable choices (think washing instructions on clothes or someone with dietary requirements misunderstanding food packaging labels). When it comes to types of employment, it’s vital to know the difference in terms and what you’re signing up for.
Are you a full-time, part-time or casual employee? (You may also refer to these as casual, permanent part-time or permanent workers). Employers can simultaneously hire casual, part-time and full-time employees for a plethora of reasons, whether it be flexibility within their business or to accommodate to the staff’s personal needs.
Let’s start with the basics: What are the differences between casual, part-time or full-time employment? In most cases, full-time and part-time employees receive benefits that casual employees do not. There is also typically a difference in how they get paid: full-time and part-time on a salary or set wage vs. casuals on an hourly rate.
What Are Full-Time are Part-Time Employees?
Traditionally, working 38 hours a week has been considered “full-time” employment though depending on the workplace, the hours can vary. The term “permanent” signifies job security as there is ongoing work from the employer and no predetermined end date.
Some employers require fewer hours than full-time status, such as 35, 32, or even 30 hours. This is termed “part-time/permanent part-time”. The employee has the same work security and stability of full-time workers though works fewer hours. These workers could choose to work part-time if they have other things occupying their time, such as another job, hobby, parenthood or otherwise.
In most cases, the difference between full-time and part-time are the accruing of annual leave, which depending on the hours is generally halved. Workers have the same wages per hour and can still accrue paid sick leave and annual leave (have paid time off).
What Are Casual Employees?
A casual employee is one who generally works less than full-time and part-time employees. While this sounds obvious, it’s important to understand the distinction.
The main difference is that casuals are paid different to full- and part-time employees. Casuals are paid only for the time they work. For example, if a workplace is overstaffed, they will typically relieve a casual from work as it reduces costs. Casuals are not entitled to paid sick days, annual leave or any other form of paid time off. In most cases, hiring casuals is more affordable and flexible for employers.
Some specific types of employees or jobs can be casual. For example, an employer may want to make all laborers casual, but their administration employers full-time or part-time. Employers can pay casual employees at hourly rates, and pay different rates for different types of work.
Depending on the company, casual work is rarely as secure as full- or part-time work. There doesn’t have to be a consistency of work or hours (unless otherwise stated), with some casuals going from working 30 hours a week to zero the next. This can benefit casual workers, as if they have something else going on (events, exams, holidays, etc), it’s easier for them to get the required time off work.
Where Can You Access More Information?
For more information, you can visit the website of Fair Work http://www.fairwork.gov.au/ to gain a better understanding of the type of employment that will suit you and your circumstances.