When advertising an open position, an employer will designate whether it is full time or part time. Most companies define work status according to the number of hours worked during a week. The total number of hours under a pre-defined threshold makes a position part time. When applying for a job it may be in the best interest of the applicant to request full time, rather than part time, status.
One of the more important reasons to request a full time designation is the availability of benefits. Many companies provide benefits only to full time employees. Health insurance benefits are extremely important to some people, so having this benefit is worth moving up to full time status. New federal laws set a specific number of hours that employees must work to be eligible for health-care benefits from their employer. According to the federal government, 30 work hours in a week makes an employee eligible. Other benefits such as 401k plans, pensions, dental plans and profit sharing are also usually provided only to full time employees.
Work status determines the eligibility for sick leave, personal days and vacation time. Employees working full time earn a number of hours each pay period that they may use for sick leave or personal time. These types of leave are commonly referred to as wage benefits. Some companies do provide paid vacations and sick leave to those with part time status but this is the exception, not the norm. To ensure that you will be eligible for these benefits, consider requesting a bump up to full time. Most companies define full time status as those working 40 hours a week or more. This can vary by company, but 40 hours is the norm.
Workers with a full time status designation enjoy a little more security than part timers. Letting a full time worker go is a more arduous process than terminating a part time or temporary worker. This is due in part to more paperwork and validation needed in the case of a full time worker termination. Even in states designated as '"at will," meaning a company can fire you for any legal reason or for no reason, terminating a full time employee requires some justification. In an economic downturn involving layoffs, full time employees typically receive severance pay and payment for unused vacation time. Part time workers do not normally receive these benefits upon termination. Full time employees also leave with COBRA paperwork to help with their insurance needs and any stock options or retirement funds accumulated during their tenure.
Why Companies Like Part Timers
Companies may be more prone to designate you as a part time employee because it saves them money. Employee benefits can be costly, so it reduces workforce costs when a company can defer this cost. Companies also like the flexibility that part time workers provide. When business is brisk, they can offer more hours. During slow periods, they can cut back. To sell yourself as a full time employee, you need to point out the pluses of hiring a full time employee. For instance, part time employees often leave as soon as they find another job, causing the company to lose production time as it trains another worker. Hiring a full time worker can reduce the frequency of having to train new hires.
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