Part-time. Full-time. Gig.

What type of worker is right for your business?

Part-time. Full-time. Gig.

What type of worker is right for your business?

Say you have a company and need to add staff. What type of people do you want working for you? You probably want them to be honest, skilled and reliable. But do you want them to be full-time or part-time? That’s trickier and not always an easy decision for business owners to make. It depends on the specific needs of a business, the costs associated with part-time vs. full-time work and how the greater economy is doing. This article will help you better understand the different forms of employment, including alternate work arrangements, and help you figure out how you might use them to your advantage. 

Part-time work

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t define the weekly work hours required to qualify as a part-time employee and leaves that decision up to employers. While there’s no magic number, a minimum of 20 hours per week is common. You may discover that the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies part-time as working between 1 and 34 hours per week, but this is used only for statistical purposes. Part-time workers are often paid a lower rate than what a full-time hourly employee earns. Any hourly employee who works more than 40 hours in a week is eligible to receive overtime pay, which is 1.5 times their hourly wage. Employers obviously like to keep a tight handle on this and schedule workers appropriately to avoid this scenario.

Traditionally, people have wanted to work part-time for voluntary (noneconomic) reasons, but this has been changing. Part-time work allows a person to devote more time to family, pursue activities other than work (school, hobbies, etc.) or to practice work-life balance. Also, working part-time is a useful strategy for getting a foot in the door at a company and transitioning into a full-time role. 

Hiring part-time workers has a lot of advantages. Part-timers aren’t as expensive as full-time people. Depending on your state, you may need to pay Social Security and Medicare tax, unemployment insurance tax and worker’s compensation insurance. But you won’t be required to invest in health insurance and other costly benefits—although these offerings might help recruit and retain your talent.

Using part-time workers creates flexibility in scheduling team shifts. It provides extra support during times of heavy workload and seasonal demand. Plus, it creates opportunities to more easily cross-train employees to serve as experienced backup team members when the need arises.

Although they aren’t on the job every day, part-time workers are part of your company and its culture. They aren’t hired guns who roll in to do a job and leave. They’re people who often are invested in your mission and feel energetic about their purpose. That’s gold. So be sure to nurture those feelings.

There are several negatives associated with part-time hires. Having a limited schedule means less time to practice and perfect the tasks of the job. They also may not get the staff memo about certain procedural changes. These factors increase the chance for worker errors. 

Workers rely on steady hours. If scheduling is inconsistent (or there just aren’t enough shifts to go around), it may be tough to retain employees. And speaking of hours, your part-time worker may be a part-time worker elsewhere too. If your business isn’t the priority, you may not get the best out of your employee or have to deal with unwanted scheduling conflicts.

Full-time work

Full-time workers may earn a flat salary, or they may be paid hourly. While a typical full-time work week is 40 hours, some employers set the number between 32 and 40 hours per week. When it comes to determining whether a worker is eligible for paid time off, holiday pay, retirement plans and more, employers use 32 hours as the minimum.

Having full-time staffers on the payroll makes it easier to plan for goals, projects and workload. And it brings a consistency to the team schedule that can benefit workers and managers. That consistency is also appreciated by the people you serve. Customers generally prefer to deal with the people they usually encounter. And just like part-time workers (maybe even more so), full-time workers are more likely to be engaged with the goals of the company and feel a sense of loyalty.

The big item in the “con” category for full-time workers is the major expense of employment. As of 2020, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance to workers or face penalties. Businesses with fewer than 50 full-time workers are exempt. The ACA is fairly complex—there are specifics for exemption, opportunities for tax credits. Same goes for individual state insurance laws. Rather than navigate it all on your own, it’s a good idea to consult with an HR professional or an attorney.

In addition to health insurance, full-time workers receive other fringe benefits, such as dental insurance, disability insurance, 401(k) plans and more. Ultimately, this can all add up to a pretty high price tag.

One other con worth mentioning is that it may not always be cost effective to employ full-timers. If there’s a time when consumer demand slows, and there may not be as much work to do, you’re still obligated to pay workers for all the hours designated in their hiring agreement. A part-time workforce would offer you more flexibility in this type of situation.

Gig work: It’s not just for band dudes anymore 

“Gig worker” is today’s hip, new way of saying independent contractor, freelancer, temp or on-demand worker. People who prefer to work without set hours and not commit to a long-term employer relationship find the gig lifestyle attractive. They choose to take on individual projects that fit their schedules and interests. In fact, an entire gig economy has developed from this alternative work arrangement, and a diversity of occupations is part of it—graphic designers, writers, musicians, IT professionals, construction workers, delivery and rideshare drivers and students. Gigging is also a way to supplement regular income and explore different career paths. There is one major downside though. Gig work can be inconsistent. Sometimes it’s feast. Other times it’s famine. Not all workers are cut out to handle the stress of the lean periods.

For businesses, there are many reasons to employ gig workers. First off, an employer isn’t required to invest much in a worker besides an hourly wage or flat fee for work provided. There’s no Social Security or Medicare tax to pay. No unemployment insurance tax to cough up. And no fringe benefits, like health, dental or 401(k) to provide. Oh, and there’s a lot less paperwork.

Gig workers can provide missing expertise. Maybe you need someone to perform specific tasks or handle projects that are out of your current employees’ collective wheelhouse. Or maybe you want a subject matter expert to train your team on a new computer system.

Using gig workers is an efficient way to test how many hours may be required to perform the tasks of a specific role you want to add to the team. Bringing on a temporary person can be done quickly. And once you get a read on the role, you can recruit for a full- or part-time hire.  

Gig workers can give you the flexibility you need. They can be a great resource for filling hiring gaps—for situations like a delay in getting a new employee on board or a worker calling out sick a few hours before their shift. A single unfilled shift can cost your business significant future revenue. A gig worker can save the day.

Making work happen during pandemic uncertainty 

Your workforce is the lifeblood of your business—pandemic or no pandemic. There’s no doubt, though, that things are different. US companies have shed millions of jobs—laying off or furloughing workers. Businesses have had to adapt and hire more part-time employees. Displaced workers are joining the already competitive gig economy. 

These days, all signs seem to be pointing to flexibility as the future of work. And this is where Snagajob can help. We offer everything a hiring manager needs to recruit great talent and keep on truckin’—unlimited job postings for full-time and part-time positions, the ability to screen candidates, filter applications, schedule interviews and more. Plus, when you need to get the word out about an open shift you need to fill immediately, our Shifts by Snagajob technology can be your digital megaphone. This is our full-time gig. And our job is to make your business better.