HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Employee Type

What is an Employee Type?

Employee type refers to the different kinds of employees that an organization might hire or contract for employment. There are several varieties of employees, including full-time, part-time, and temporary, with legal obligations and regulations that apply to each.

Why Does Employee Type Matter?

Employee type matters for several reasons, namely that it determines the legal requirements that organizations must fulfill in regards to its team.

For example, part-time employees are typically not eligible for health insurance and may only receive a limited number of PTO days, while full-time employees can qualify for both healthcare coverage and the maximum amount of PTO offered.

What are the Different Employee Types?

Common types of employees include: 

  • Full-Time Employees: An employee who, for a calendar month, averages at least 30 hours per week, or 130 hours of work per month.
  • Part-Time Employees: Part-time employees are generally defined by each individual employer’s policy. Typically, these policies will define part-time as an employee who works less than 40 hours per week.
  • Interns: Interns are typically either students working towards a degree or under-experienced workers fresh out of school. They might work part-time or full-time and may be paid or unpaid, depending on the role and regulations in the state of employment. 
  • Independent Contractor: An independent contractor is a self-employed individual, business, or corporation that provides services to another individual or business under the terms laid out in a contract, usually for a set period, not long term.
  • At-Will Employees: An at-will employee is an individual who can be fired at any time for any legal reason. This means that under at-will employment, if the employer decides to lay off that employee, the individual has limited recourse under the law to fight the dismissal.
  • Temporary Employees: Temporary or short term employees are hired to work for an indefinite period or for a season (seasonal employee), typically to accomplish a single project or series of tasks related to a set of similar projects. Also commonly known as a gig worker
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