Global HR 7 min

Finding the perfect fit: Choosing between part-time and full-time

Written by Gillian O'Brien
June 5, 2024
Gillian O'Brien


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Any business with a global team needs to understand how part-time and full-time employment work in different countries. In fact, employment types impact your bottom line.

This article on part-time vs. full-time employees can help you make informed hiring decisions. Let's take a look at how to create schedules that work for everyone on the team, regardless of where they’re based.

What is a full-time employee?

A full-time employee is defined as a person who works for most of the work week.

For example, if standard working hours in a certain country are from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, the total working hours are 40 hours per week. A full-time employee is generally someone who spends time working these number of hours.

However, the exact number of hours required to be a full-time employee differs between countries. For example, a full-time employee under US law needs to work at least 30 hours a week. In France, it’s 35 hours a week. In Australia, it’s 38 hours a week.

What is a part-time employee?

A part-time employee is generally defined as someone who works for less than most of the standard work week.

There is some variance in the definition globally. Australia defines part-time work as anything less than full-time work. In the US, a part-time employee is one who works fewer than 30 hours per week.

It can be difficult to keep up with laws that classify full-time and part-time work. This is why it’s a good idea to partner with a global HR expert like Remote to make sure you do not misclassify your employees in anyway.

What’s the difference between part-time and full-time employment?

Before choosing between hiring part-time vs. full-time employees, you’ll need to understand the main areas in which these two employment types differ. The main differences between part-time and full-time employment are:

Time commitment

Full-time employees work more hours per week than part-time employees. The employment laws of most countries define full-time as a majority of the standard work week. 

Conversely, part-time work is defined as either less than full-time ‌work or a specific range of hours.


In many countries, part-time employees are legally entitled to only basic benefits like overtime, minimum wage, workers’ compensation, and unemployment. Companies can offer additional benefits to attract competitive part-time talent.


Full-time employees may have more responsibilities and work on longer-term projects than part-time employees. Part-time employees are less likely to be in managerial roles, as they may be unable to support team members who work full-time.

Which is better for business: part-time or full-time employment?

Answering this question requires digging deeper than the pros and cons of salary vs. hourly employment.

What are the advantages of having full-time employees?

The pros of having full-time employees are:

  • Business know-how: Full-time employees can perfect their know-how on reaching goals through continuous working hours. Because full-time employees spend more time on business processes, they’re able to refine their skills over time.

  • Top talent: Full-time employment often comes with comprehensive benefits than part-time work. Top global talent who are focused on work often gravitate toward full-time work.

What are the disadvantages of having full-time employees?

Some challenges you might encounter when you hire full-time employees include the following:

  • Higher costs: The wages and benefits for full-time employees add up, and that’s before you get to the incidental costs, like payroll taxes and equipment.

  • Less flexibility: For certain types of work, full-time employees may be unnecessary. As full-time employees work a certain number of hours per week, this workforce may be excessive for certain projects.

What are the advantages of having part-time employees?

Some of the reasons employers go for part-time employees over full-time employees are:

  • Cost-effective: The wages you pay part-time employees are generally lower, which also results in lower payroll taxes. Costs of benefits for part-time employees may also be lower.

  • Flexibility: Part-time workers often have flexible schedules. Employers can scale their workforces up and down as needed, especially if the demand for talent fluctuates.

What are the disadvantages of having part-time employees?

The downsides of hiring part-time employees include the following:

  • Less availability: Part-time employees don’t have as much time as full-time hires to specialize and become familiar with the company’s processes, especially if they’re constantly turning over. As a result, part-time employees may not be available in the manner you need or at the time you require.

  • More schedule coordination required: Because part-time schedules are more flexible, managers often need to put more effort into coordinating schedules.

Should you hire part-time or full-time?

Now that you understand what is considered part-time and full-time, and what you’d be signing up for with each option, it’s time to start making decisions.

When choosing between part-time and full-time hiring, consider the following factors:

How to choose part-time or full-time

Your resources and budget

Hiring full-time often comes with a heftier price tag, so if your budget is tight, hiring part-time might be the better option for your business.

Your business needs

Think about your business objectives and what kind of roles can help you reach those goals. If you need employees to have an in-depth understanding of your processes to complete high-quality work over time, then full-time might be the way to go.

For instance, you might need a network security engineer to work full-time to stay updated on your company's systems.

It’s also possible that neither full-time nor part-time employees are the best fit for your business needs. In that case, consider working with an independent contractor.

Your onboarding process

While some companies onboard new hires in a matter of days, some companies have longer onboarding processes. Comprehensive onboarding is an investment, so it may be better suited for full-time employees in certain circumstances. If your part-time new hire is joining for a limited task, you can consider tailoring your onboarding process for this person.

The available talent pool

You might naturally attract a certain type of talent for a particular role.

For example, 41% of students enroll in internships while they pursue their bachelor’s degrees. As an employer, you could accommodate such talent by offering part-time employment so they don’t have to choose between work and their studies.

On the other hand, established professionals may be looking to settle down for a full-time job with a global flexible team. You can attract top global talent by offering full-time positions with competitive benefits.

Your company culture

Company culture influences staffing decisions, including when offering part-time or full-time employment.

For example, some companies may emphasize work-life balance and work with team members who prefer part-time jobs. Other companies may focus on professional development, and work with people who prefer full-time positions that further develop their skills.

Get hiring right every time with Remote

Whatever your decision, Remote Talent helps you hire a globally distributed team.

Remote HR Management helps you run a globally distributed team, whether they are part-time or full-time positions, without worrying about falling behind on compliance. Post job listings, provide benefits, onboard and offboard talent, and run payroll, all from a unified hub.

Whether your global team is full-time or part-time, contact us to find out how Remote can help you streamline your HR processes.

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Get noticed by diverse, qualified candidates across the globe. Don't let geography stand in the way of hiring great people.

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