Difference between Full-Time and Part-Time

By: | Updated: Dec-6, 2017

If you are struggling to decide on what form of employment to choose then you will need some information on what full-time and part-time jobs mean. Unless you have already worked anywhere before, it is difficult to understand all the implications. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Let’s find out what the differences are between full-time and part-time employment.

Summary Table

Means a workweek with 30 – 40 hoursMeans a workweek of less than 30-35 hours
Has benefits such as paid vacation, sick leave, and maternity leaveDoes not have benefits
Includes health insurance, a retirement plan, and unemployment compensation paymentOnly includes social insurances if the state regulates it for such contracts
Pays morePays less
The standard shift is from 9 AM to 5 PMThere is no standard; shifts can be whenever the employer needs them or when the employee wants to come in
Provides a steady incomeIs not seen as such a steady source of income
Looked upon favorably by banks and financial companiesNot well seen by banks; some financial companies may approve a loan based on such a contract
Leaves less time to oneself throughout the workweekLeaves more time to oneself throughout the workweek
Employers invest in employees moreEmployers invest in employees less
Better chances of promotionFewer chances of promotion
More job consistencyLess job consistency
Less productive overallMore productive overall
More chances of doing overtimeFewer chances of doing overtime
More stressful and tiringLess stressful and demanding
An option for people looking to cover their monthly expenses and support their familiesAn option for students, people trying out career paths, and people who only look to gain extra money


employee in the office

Full-time employment means spending between 30 and 40 hours a week at the workplace. This standard is regulated for some countries and it also depends on what the employer is willing to accept as a “full day of work.”

The full-time contract comes with benefits, depending on what the employer is willing to include. A retirement plan, health insurance, sick leave, maternity leave, and paid vacation days are among them. When some employers give you the possibility to work 6 hours and still have a statute of a full-time employee, this is also a benefit as you get to use the extra 2 hours a day for yourself.

There are several pros and cons of working a full-time job.


  • You have job stability.
  • You have a steady income and there are more chances of getting bonuses and raises.
  • Your work hours are fixed and you can plan your day around them – the most common full-time schedule is 9 AM to 5 PM.
  • You have more chances of getting a promotion.
  • You have a better chance at building your career.


  • The 8 hours of work will usually be scheduled in the middle of the day, leaving very little time for you to solve any personal problems (before 9 AM and after 5 PM).
  • 8 hours can be exhausting.
  • Many times, these 8 hours turn into 9, 10, or even more a day. Failure to be dedicated to your job and refusal to work overtime can get a person overlooked when it comes to promotions and bonuses.
  • Not all hours spent overtime are paid.
  • The job can become tedious and not all employees are productive for the full extent of the 8 hours.

Full-time jobs are usually the option of college graduates and people who are looking for a steady income for their monthly expenses. Also, a full-time job is looked upon as a positive when a person applies for a loan.

Part-time employment means spending less than 30 to 35 hours at the workplace a week. This can vary from 2 hours a day to 4 hours a day, depending on the job.

The part-time contract is seen as a benefit in itself as the employee has more time to himself/herself once work is done. There is no health insurance, and retirement benefits depend on whether or not the state law compels the employer to make such provisions. In most cases, there is no sick leave or paid vacation.

Here are the pros and cons of working a part-time job:


  • You can dispose of the rest of the day as you see fit.
  • It is a good way of gaining experience when you are testing a career path.
  • It is a good way of getting some money for your expenses when you are young.
  • You have time to go to school, college, or take care of personal business on work days.
  • The short work day is also more efficient as there is less time spent on breaks.
  • With some jobs, you can pick your shift and come in whenever you want.
  • There are fewer chances of doing overtime at a part-time job.


  • There is no job stability as part-time employees are the most expendable.
  • There is little chance to get promotions inside the company. The best chance is to get a full-time offer for the same job.
  • When you cannot pick your shifts, those four hours can ruin your entire day plan when placed randomly by the employer (like night shifts or really early morning shifts).

People in need of a steady income but who lack the qualifications for a full-time job often combine several part-time jobs.

Full-Time vs Part-Time

So what is the difference between full-time and part-time employment?

The main difference between the two consists of the number of hours in a workweek. A full-time job means 30-40 hours a week, whereas a part-time job means anything less than 30-35 hours a week.

There are benefits that are only given to full-time employees, like sick leave and paid vacation days. Health insurance and unemployment benefits depend on specific state regulations for part-time employees.

There is less job stability for part-time employees as the company invests less in them and gives them fairer compensation for their work. On the other hand, full-time employees officially have an 8-hour work day which usually extends far beyond those hours. This means that a full-time employee, expected to spend the whole day at the office, will work more hours and sometimes for unpaid overtime. This dedication is compensated with bonuses and promotions within the company. The best chances a part-time employee has for a promotion is to a full-time contract.

The smallest jobs in a company or the ones that do not require around-the-clock attention from just one person are reserved for part-time employees. Management positions are usually reserved for full-time employees.

Getting a loan is easier for full-time employees than it is for part-time employees. This is due to the fact that they have a steady income, they show more consistency, and they get paid better. On the other hand, part-time employees are the most vulnerable when an employer wants to lay off personnel as they can more easily quit such a job and they are paid less.

You have less time for yourself throughout the day when working a full-time job. Therefore, such a form of employment is not compatible with a school or college schedule. It is also difficult to get such a program to work around the needs of a parent or of a caregiver. A part-time job is more suited for such situations.

Full-time jobs can give employers job consistency as there is only one person doing one job throughout the day, as opposed to two people working in shifts on the same job. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that a person can be productive for 8 hours straight. This makes the 4 hours shift more recommendable.

Psychologically speaking, a full-time job is more demanding and stressful than a part-time job.

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