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Part-time, full-time or casual: who do you need to hire?

3-minute read

Your business is itching to grow, and it follows that you’ll need extra staff to help you get there. But do you know which type of employee will best suit your needs? To save you some homework, we unpack the most common employee types and reveal some of their pros and cons.

Key take-outs
  • Part-time and full-time employees offer more stability when you have ongoing work to offer, but you’ll also need enough stretch in your budget to cover leave entitlements.
  • Full-time employees should be considered a long-term investment that can help grow your business.
  • Casual employees offer the most flexibility, but you’ll need to dig a little deeper to compensate for their lack of job security.

Break it down

For most roles, you’ll want to hire one of the following three types of employee:

  • Full-time.
  • Part-time.
  • Casual.

Before you rush into the differences and details of each, there are a few questions to consider:

  • Do you need them for a short-term project or ongoing?
  • What tasks will they perform?
  • What skill set and competency level will they need? Consider your gaps.
  • How many hours a week will you need them?
  • How much budget is available?
  • What goals are you looking to accomplish by hiring them?

Once you’ve figured these out, you’ll be ready to accurately weigh the upsides and downsides of each option.


As per the Fair Work Act, a full-time employee works an average of 38 hours a week in an ongoing capacity. The actual hours worked are agreed between you and the employee and may be specified in an award or registered agreement.

Full-time employees are entitled to paid annual leave and sick leave. They may also qualify for other types of leave, such as parental and long service leave. You will also need to give them notice if the job is no longer required

Financially, taking on a full-time employee is a big commitment. Think of them as an investment – over time, they can develop skills, knowledge and loyalty that will accelerate business growth and cover their payroll costs many times over.


A part-time employee typically works fewer than 38 hours a week but enjoys the same pay rates and leave entitlements as full-time employees. It’s usually a good option for non-full-time workers if you expect the work to be steady and ongoing. Like full-time employees, they will also require notice if the job ends.

Because you don’t need to pay them extra to make up for their reduced hours, part-time employees can cost less to employ in the short term than casuals. Unlike casuals, however, you’ll still be responsible for their leave entitlements over the long term.


Full-time and part-time employees can both expect some kind of guarantee of ongoing work. By contrast, casual employees are hired only when the business needs them, with no minimum hours or duration of employment.

This extra flexibility lets you bring in workers to cover short-term projects or peak periods. It’s well-suited to industries that see varying seasonal demand, such as retail or agriculture.

Because they aren’t entitled to sick or annual leave, casual employees are entitled to higher pay (referred to as casual loading) – equal to the equivalent permanent hourly rate plus 15–25% of that rate. This loading may need to increase if you require them to work evenings or weekends.

It’s worth keeping in mind that casual workers may not feel as invested in your business as your part-time or full-time staff. Beyond fulfilling the requirements of the role, they’re free to turn down shifts, even if you’re desperate, just as you have the right to not roster them on. That said, if they’re a great fit, there’s no reason why you couldn’t earmark them for a more permanent role if/when one comes up.


The differences between the various employee types can seem confusing at first, especially when you’re still getting to grips with recruitment. Classifying them correctly ensures you have the right person for the job, while also meeting your wage and entitlement obligations.

Read more

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Things you should know

This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.