Confused math lady needs to know the difference between full time, part time and casual work

Full time, part time and casual work: what’s the difference?

Flexible work and gig economy jobs are on the rise. The way you’re employed has a big impact on your and your employer’s rights and responsibilities. Here’s what you need to know about full time, part time and casual work.

Some important info right at the top. If you work for an employer you are entitled to superannuation and are covered by the Fair Work system.

Full time work

The majority of Australians – about 58% – said they worked full time in the 2016 Census.

  • In a full time job you work an average of 38 hours each week.
  • You have a commitment from your employer that you have ongoing work.
  • You get entitlements like annual, sick and parental leave.
  • If you work full time, your employer has to give you notice if they want to end your employment. You also have to give them notice if you want to leave your job.
Still image from the movie 9 to 5, which showed women working full time

Part time work

It’s hard to tell exactly how many people work part time because the reported number covers casual workers too. Like full time work, part time work is considered permanent employment. It is not the same as casual work. 1 in 3 people said they did not work full time in the 2016 Census.

  • In a part time job you work an average of less than 38 hours each week.
  • You typically work set days and hours each week, not on a flexible roster.
  • You have a commitment from your employer that you have ongoing work.
  • You get entitlements like annual, sick and parental leave on a pro-rata basis.
  • Your employer has to give you notice if they want to end your employment. You also have to give them notice if you want to leave your job.

Casual work

There’s no escaping the fact that casual work is one of the least secure types of work. At the same time, it is also one of the most flexible.

  • You get casual loading, which means your hourly rate is higher than permanent employees.
  • You don’t get entitlements like sick and annual leave.
  • If your casual work is regular and has lasted at least 12 months, you can take parental leave.
  • You do not work set hours or shifts each week. However, a lot of the time you can negotiate with your employer and get a roster that works for you.
  • You don’t have to work shifts you’re given. But turning down shifts can be risky and you could just get left off the roster next time.
  • Your employer doesn’t have to give you notice if they want to end your employment. You don’t have to give them notice if you want to leave your job either.
Red haired woman quitting casual work with no notice

Contractors and shift workers and day hire, oh my!

There are more ways to work than full time or casual. We haven’t touched on flexible work in this blog because it deserves its own post. Remember, different rules can apply if you’re a contractor. You can’t rely upon your employer to know everything, so it’s a good idea to make sure you understand your rights for yourself. Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman for more information.

Images: 20th Century Fox, giphy

4 comments

  1. Thank Mellisa for explaining what is different between time types jobs 🙂
    And yes, I think, that circumstances and options for some contract jobs is complicated…

    1. No worries Buka. Glad you found the blog helpful. Let us know if there are other topics you would like us to cover on the blog 🙂

  2. I would like part time this moment , because i am a single mother. i had 11 yrs. old daughter that she need i looking after so far. But if she is grown enough ready i left while i was working, thats the time i am ready to work fulltime. At this time my daughter she is my 1st priority. Because i dont like while she grown up luck of time fromn her mum.

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