Casual, part-time & full-time

An employee, including a shiftworker, can be hired as:

  • full-time
  • part-time or
  • casual.

It is important to know the type of employment because pay rates, leave and other entitlements are different.

What is a full-time employee?

A full-time employee has ongoing employment and works, on average, around 38 hours each week. The actual hours of work for an employee in a particular job or industry are agreed between the employer and the employee and/or set by an award or registered agreement.

Changing from full-time to part-time or casual employment

When the employer and the employee agree to change

An employee and an employer may agree to end an employee’s full-time position and change to part-time or casual employment.

When changing from full-time to casual the usual rules for ending employment apply, including:

  • giving or paying the employee the required notice
  • paying out leave and any other entitlements owed.

When the employee doesn’t agree to change

An employer may be able to change an employee’s full-time employment to part-time or casual employment without agreement from the employee.

Important factors to consider are:

  • Does the employment contract, registered agreement or award let the employer change the employee’s work hours without the employee agreeing?
  • Does the change make a new employment contract or change an existing contract?
  • What entitlements, such as annual leave or redundancy, need to be paid out?
  • How much notice does the employer need to give the employee?

We’re unable to provide advice about employment contracts, including changes to an employee’s hours. You will need to seek legal advice to find out more about your situation.

An employer can’t change or end an employee’s employment:

  • for a discriminatory reason
  • because the employee has exercised a workplace right
  • for another reason protected by law.

Read about Protections at work to find more.

Fixed term contract employees

Fixed term contract employees are employed for a specific period of time or task. For example a 6 month contract where employment ends after 6 months.

Fixed term employees are different to permanent employees who are employed on an ongoing basis until the employer or employee ends the employment relationship.

Fixed term contract employees are usually full-time or part-time employees. 

Full-time or part-time fixed term employees are generally entitled to the same wages, penalties and leave as permanent employees. An award or registered agreement may provide extra terms and conditions for a fixed term employee. 

Best practice tip

Make sure new employees know their:

  • employment status
    • full-time, part-time or casual
    • permanent or fixed term contract
  • classification level
  • hours of work
  • pay rate.

This information is included in our letter of engagement templates: 

Visit our Online learning centre external-icon.png to take our Hiring employees short course and download free hiring resources.

Think a mistake might have been made?

Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.

Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:

  • figuring out if a mistake has been made
  • talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
  • getting help from us if you can't resolve it.

Help for small business

Want to save this information for later?

If you might need to read this information again, save it for later so you can access it quickly and easily.

You might also be interested in

Page reference No: 2878