What are the differences between a temp job and a part-time job?

What are the differences between a temp job and a part-time job?

September 25, 2019 7:28 am

People often confuse temporary work with part-time work, but there are distinct differences between these employment arrangements. We asked business leaders to discuss key differences between these two types of work. Here’s what they had to say.

Stephanie Dennis

Stephanie Dennis

Career Coach and Talent Acquisition Consultant

Stephanie Dennis is on a mission to empower people to take control of their careers by offering holistic career advice.

A temp job is just that—temporary—and generally for a pre-determined time at the time of hire. Usually 3, 6, 9 or 12 months, but it can really vary depending on the organization’s needs.

If someone does well in a temp job, it is possible for them to be hired full time.

You can be hired for a temp job in 1 of 2 ways:

  1. Through the company directly. For example, if you are doing work for ABC Inc, you are paid by ABC Inc directly.
  2. Through a staffing company. For example, you do work for ABC Inc and likely sit in the ABC Inc office but are paid by my XYZ Staffing.

Oftentimes, temps who are hired directly through companies have little to no benefits, whereas when someone goes through a staffing company, they have more benefits available to them.

To add to the complexity, you can also be a W2 or 1099 temp; however, 1099 generally refers to independent contracts, but not always.

A part-time job (that is not designated as a temp, contract, etc. because you can have part time temps) is a permanent role that will be needed on an ongoing basis. You work directly for the company hiring you, and there is no staffing company involved on an ongoing basis (you could hire a staffing company to fill a part-time permanent role and pay a fee for that person). Benefits are similar to temp, though with little to no benefits options for part-time employees. However, this can certainly depend on the organization you are working for.

Jason Yau

Jason Yau

Jason Yau is the VP of E-Commerce & General Manager of CanvasPeople

Hiring for part-time or temp work are strategies that companies use in order to be more cost-effective when it comes to staffing/employment practices. It’s understandable why some would be under the impression that they are exactly alike. Temp work is more clearly defined in terms of how long the job is for. Before being hired, you’ll be told that when it ends and if there will be a potential temp-to-hire opportunity (this is highly dependent on costs, state of the business, etc.) For part-time work, the definition is a bit looser.

Essentially, if you’re working under 35 hours/week, you fall under the “part-time” umbrella. Knowing this, you can absolutely be working part-time in a temporary role. However, the differences are typically reflected in benefits, pay, etc. Many companies will apply pro-rated pay and benefits to their part-time employees in accordance with those that the full-time employees have. This is not the case for a temp/contract position. You might find yourself asking how temp work is even legal or if they get to share any perks that part-time employees do. Temp employees are still fully entitled to employment rights, labor laws, etc.

Polly Kay

Polly Kay

Senior Marketing Manager at englishblinds.co.uk

Polly Kay has over a decade of experience as a digital marketing consultant and senior marketing manager, serving a diverse range of clients ranging from SMEs to large international corporations and household names.

A temp job might involve working either part-time or full-time hours, but by definition, it is a job that is intended to be performed on a short-term basis, or for a finite period of time. A temp job might continue for a day, a few days or for much longer – such as is often the case for maternity leave cover– but it is designed to be temporary, rather than a permanent, ongoing form of employment.

Temp jobs might also be available at short notice and involve a variety of different hours and working patterns, while most part-time jobs offer more regularity and consistency in terms of scheduling.

Businesses might employ temp workers when the amount of work available at any given time can be highly variable (such as within the hospitality trade), when the work is project-based with gaps between projects (such as within the construction trade) or at seasonally busy periods (such as in the run-up to the holiday season in retail units). All of these scenarios require additional staffing at certain times and this need may be replicated on a regular or semi-regular basis rather than being unpredictable or anomalous. Such scenarios neither warrant nor necessitate the retention of additional permanent staff, due to the times when little or no work is available for them.

Additionally, some small businesses during their early days may employ temp workers rather than permanent workers, even though they intend to keep the workers on long-term, as the uncertainty of the business’s future or their ability to offer the type of benefits permanent workers expect might impact their hiring practices.

Temp workers rarely receive the same types of benefits as part-time or full-time permanent workers, like healthcare, dental coverage, and paid vacation, but in some cases, they may be paid at a slightly higher rate to accommodate for these factors.

John Linden

John Linden

Designer

John Linden is a well-known, Los Angeles-based interior designer at mirrorcoop.com. Established in 2013, Los Angeles, California’s Mirror Coop is an online, curated collection of vintage, MidCentury, Art Deco furniture.

Basically, somebody who works under 35 hours per week is classified as a part-time employee. Any longer than that and they would be classified as full-time worker. On the other hand, temporary employees can work either part-time or full-time. They could clock in more than 35 hours a week and work full-time but still be considered a temporary employee. In fact, most temporary contracts assign people to cover for permanent employees who have gone on leave.

A part-time worker can be employed either on a permanent or on a temporary basis. If permanent, they have a regular schedule and work indefinitely. In contrast, a temporary worker does not have a regular schedule and only works for a specified amount of time. For example, a company might hire extra sales clerks around the winter holidays. Once that time is over, they will either leave or be recruited if the company liked the temporary employee enough to convert their position to a permanent one.

Part-time employees are bound by the same policies that would apply to a full-time employee. They’re considered to be workers for that company and can receive company benefits. Temps are often hired by agencies that send them out to work on temporary assignments. Compared to part-time workers, temps usually receive less pay and fewer benefits.

Ellen Mullarkey

Ellen Mullarkey

Vice President

Ellen Mullarkey is a Vice President of Business Development with Messina Group. Ellen joined Messina more than 25 years ago after graduating from the University of Iowa. She has been instrumental in establishing and expanding Messina’s staffing divisions.

Many people think about accepting a part-time job while they are looking for a full-time job to keep the bills paid and possibly avoid a gap on their resumes. This, however, can be a mistake for a few reasons. In some cases, of course, part-time jobs are offered with the possibility of full time if it’s a good fit. If you would be happy to stay with the company in the long term on a full-time basis, taking this sort of position is probably a good idea. However, if moving to full time is not an option or not what you want, it can be unfair to the employer to take it knowing you aren’t going to say. Even for part-time employees, employers invest in job searches and training and expect employees who commit to stay. This is why putting a part-time job on your resume that you left after a short time can actually look bad as it means you’re willing to abandon a commitment.

On the other hand, when you take temporary work, the employer expects you to be there for a short time and takes that into account with their investment in recruitment and training. Like some part-time jobs, there is often a possibility of it leading to full-time employment. However, if it’s not a great fit, you can simply complete the temp assignment, and everyone can go their separate ways amicably without being disappointed.

Also, when you work for a temporary staffing agency during a gap in full-time employment, you’re going to list the staffing agency as your employer on your resume rather than each company you work for. This means you can take short-term positions at several companies while looking for a good fit without making your resume look like you’re a flake or a bad hire. And the really good thing is that your reference and reputation are with the staffing company (not the individual companies you temp with), who can vouch for your successes and strengths even if you’ve had placements that didn’t go as well as you’d have liked.

Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is the Director of Net Lawman, a legal firm based in the United Kingdom.

Temporary, or freelance, work is one of the most flexible and adjustable ways to work. Temporary workers are hired for a brief and defined period of time or until a certain project is completed. They are also, in most cases, paid less than their full time or part-time colleagues.

Temporary work also offers a lot fewer benefits than regular or even part-time jobs. Most temporary workers don’t get to go on sick leave or have holiday pay. Of course, irregular and uncertain work is another one of the major disadvantages of these types of jobs.

Part-time, on the other hand, means working less than a full-time job, either by working fewer hours or days per week. One of the best advantages of part-time jobs is more free time to spend with your family or to devote to looking for a different job.

Part-time work is also suited for students who aren’t able to allocate 40 hours a week to work, so instead, they work as much as they can under 40 hours per week. This means a lower income compared to a full-time job. Also, having a part-time job, in most cases, means people working part-time will have fewer responsibilities and fewer ways to move up.

Amie Thompson

Amie Thompson

President & CEO, Creative Allies

Amie Thompson is an executive, investor, mentor, and leader and the current President & CEO of Creative Allies, a marketing agency driving unparalleled brand engagement for sports, entertainment, and business clients.

  1. Employer commitment: Hiring someone temporarily is usually for a specific event or project, and there may not be much investment made in the individual’s development or career progression. This is in contrast to a part-time hire, where it’s in the employer’s best interest to help develop the individual to support career growth, even if they only work 10-20 hours per week.
  2. Consistency: When an individual is hired for a temp role, there is very little consistency or ability for them to forecast long-term. On the other hand, a part-time worker, in most cases, will have some level of comfort of a consistent number of hours each week.
  3. Duration: Part-time work could last indefinitely while a temp worker may be restricted to length based on the laws in each state (in the U.S.) If not restricted by laws, duration may be impacted by seasonal work.

Igor Mitic

Igor Mitic

Igor Mitic is an experienced writer and content creator in the financial niche. He has extensive experience working with banks, insurance companies, and other institutions that create financial products and services. He is passionately sharing his knowledge as the Editor-in-Chief at Fortunly.com, a website dedicated to the simple explanation of financial matters to ordinary people.

There are several differences between part-time and temporary employees. One is that part-time employees are always working fewer hours than full-time employees on a regular schedule, and their employment status is indefinite and ongoing.

On the other hand, temporary workers have a defined period they’re working for the company. (Either it’s time-based or project-based work). People working as part-timers are often included in a company’s payroll system. However, with temporary workers, there can be a problem determining whether a person is an individual contractor or an employee.

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