Part-Time vs. Full-Time Employment: What Are the Key Differences?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 14 December 2022

Published 11 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most businesses provide both part-time and full-time employment and there are more differences than just the amount of hours worked. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages of working part-time vs. full-time. Understanding both types of career possibilities can help you choose the best job opportunities for your talents and interests. In this article, we define full and part-time employment, the advantages and disadvantages of each and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the roles.

Related: What Is a 4-Day Work Week and How To Achieve It (With Tips)

What is part-time vs. full-time employment?

Part-time work usually entails working less than 35 hours a week. However, there are no fixed rules regarding the number of hours a part-time employee can work. There is a distinction between part-time vs. full-time employment in your employment contract and the company's employment rules. Singapore's Employment Act protects part-time workers, except for those who are domestic workers or sailors. Part-time employees have the same right to leave as full-time employees, covering both annual, parental and sick leave. Their salary while on leave is pro-rated in accordance with that of a comparable full-time employee.

Alternatively, a full-time job involves working more than 35 hours per week on a continuous basis. Although there's no explicit definition in Singapore's labour law, it's widely recognised that full-time employment is more than 35 hours per week. Employers can identify the precise amount of hours a full-time employee needs to work in their firm weekly. Full-time employees are useful since they become knowledgeable and efficient with the business's processes.

Related: Breaking into Full-Time Work with a Contract Background

Advantages of part-time employment

Part-time employment has numerous advantages over full-time employment, including:

Improved work-life balance

Because part-time employment consumes less of your time, it provides a greater possibility for work-life balance. While earning a salary, you've got time to pursue other interests and personal hobbies, continue your education or start a business. Furthermore, having a part-time job allows you to work at times that are convenient for you, pick up your children from school and do things you like in your free time.

Once you've established your work schedule, you're going to be able to make plans and enjoy your personal life without devoting 35 hours per week to a job. Furthermore, working fewer hours allows you to rest and revitalise. As a consequence, part-time employees face reduced stress and burnout as a result of their job obligations. Employees who have a good work-life balance are healthier and happier.

Related: Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

Acquire experience

A part-time job gives you the opportunity to get practical experience in the workplace. If you're interested in a different career but aren't ready to make the full commitment, testing it out with part-time work might help you determine if you'd love it or not. Furthermore, if you're developing your professional abilities, part-time employment generally requires less experience than a full-time career. You can begin developing your talents and experience in part-time employment and then go full-time once you've shown your ability.

Related: What Is a Contract Employee vs. a Regular Employee?

Disadvantages of part-time employment

There are several drawbacks of part-time employment compared to full-time jobs, including:

Fewer benefits

Generally, most businesses don't provide dental or paramedical insurance to their part-time employees. They typically reserve this perk for full-time employees. So, if you don't have another employment or a partner who covers you, additional health insurance benefits can increase when you're paying out of pocket. As a result, before accepting part-time work, it's a good idea to inquire about perks in your employment contract.

Related: What Are Employee Benefits and 17 Types of Employee Benefits

Less job security

Part-time employees' hours are generally the first to suffer when a firm faces an economic downturn or seasonal fluctuations. Part-time employees frequently fill the gaps during busy seasons and when the demand drops, the firm would most likely reduce the hours. As a result, there's less job security when you work part-time.

Furthermore, when a business has a downturn in the economy, it's common for them to opt to let go or lay off part-time employees while keeping their full-time personnel. As a result, part-time workers have less job security. Another disadvantage is that a firm may see its part-time employees as less valuable since they've committed fewer resources, money and time to their work.

Related: 6 Part-Time Student Jobs (With Salaries and Duties)

Inconsistent timing and scheduling

One of the major disadvantages of working a part-time job is the inconsistency of the timetable. While some firms provide a steady schedule week after week, many leverage part-time staff to fill in gaps during a working time that full-time employees cannot handle. You may, for instance, work 25 hours one week and 20 hours the following. You can also expect to work mornings, afternoons and nights spread out throughout the week. This might be inconvenient when scheduling appointments, having other employment or planning extracurricular activities.

Related: All You Need To Know About a Flexi Work Arrangement

Advantages of full-time employment

Every business has its own definition of full-time hours, as outlined in an employment contract or the company's rules. There are numerous advantages to working full-time over working part-time, such as:

Better remuneration packages

Although it's not stated or required by law, most firms provide health insurance and other perks to full-time employees that are not generally accessible to part-time employees. Dental and paramedical health insurance coverage and profit-sharing scheme contribution are examples of these perks. Generally, full-time employees also have access to benefits such as termination notice, parental leave, paid leave, education and training programmes, relocation packages, employee stock purchase plans, corporate memberships, subsidised or free gym memberships, staff referral schemes and team outings.

Higher salary and pay packet

Because a full-time employee works more than 35 hours per week, their compensation is generally higher than that of a part-time employee. As a result, they earn more money since they work longer hours. As a result, a firm may choose to pay its full-time employees on an hourly or yearly basis. Full-time roles sometimes demand advanced skills and expertise and pay more.

Related: Wage vs. Salary: Definitions, Differences and Examples

Disadvantages of full-time employment

Despite the attractive benefits full-time employment boast, it also comes with numerous disadvantages as compared to part-time employment, such as:

Higher chance of exhaustion and burnout

Full-time employees work longer hours and may have more responsibility than their part-time counterparts. As a result, companies have higher expectations of their full-time employees. As a consequence of the increased demands, full-time employees are more likely to experience burnout. Furthermore, individuals may feel overwhelmed by increased duties, suffer increased stress or grow dissatisfied with their employment.

Less room for adjustment in terms of work-life balance

There's less flexibility for a work-life balance when you work more than 35 hours a week in a full-time job. More time spent at work implies less time spent at home with family and friends and for personal hobbies. Furthermore, if you've got a second job or are starting a business on the side, full-time hours provide fewer chances to earn extra money or pursue hobbies or studies.

Related: How Many Work Hours in a Week Is Effective in Singapore

Frequently asked questions regarding part-time and full-time employment

Outlined below are some commonly asked questions about part-time vs full-time employment:

How many hours a day is part-time?

A part-time employee has a service contract that requires them to work fewer than 35 hours a week. That said, in a typical five-day workweek, part-time employees can expect to work a maximum of seven hours per day. Be mindful that the number of hours highly depends on your employer and employment contract.

Related: 5 Common Types of Employment and How They're Different

Is part-time better than full-time?

Both part-time and full-time employment come with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, which is better depends on your personal preferences and objectives. Part-time employment may be a better option if you're still pursuing your education and you're attending classes throughout the day. Part-time jobs may also be a fantastic option to continue in the workforce while caring for your family if you have childcare obligations or are caring for an ageing parent.

If you'd prefer to work numerous part-time jobs than one full-time one, that's a possibility as well. Full-time employment may be your best choice if you desire higher pay or better benefits. It's also a preferable choice if you can work during the daytime on weekdays.

Related: What Is Casual Work? (Types, Payment and Strategies to Find)

Is working 30 hours full-time?

Employment contracts of a full-time employee usually entail working at least 35 hours each week. A part-time employee, on the other hand, has a service contract that requires them to work fewer than 35 hours a week. As such, working for 30 hours falls in the category of part-time work.

Related: What Is an Employment Contract?

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