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What is a Full Time Job?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A full time job is a job in which an employee works the maximum number of legal hours in the work week — typically 40, although this standard varies around the world. People who work full time often have greater responsibilities than those who only work part time, and along with this, they usually have access to benefits that are designed to keep them healthy and happy. Typically, a job advertisement will indicate whether or not a position is full time, since the number of available hours in a position is a major issue for many job applicants. A full-time job may also be referred to as full time employment, or FTE.

One of the primary advantages of a full time job is that it often comes with benefits such as healthcare, vacation time, sick pay, and payments into pension funds. In addition, there is the possibility of overtime pay in most jobs, since employees are already working the maximum allowable hours. The flip side of this coin is that such jobs can be very demanding, and the hours are usually strict and rigid. As a result, employees must be committed to their work.

Often, a full time position is one of authority, since the company is willing to invest training and energy into someone who is working many hours. It is possible to work one's way up to a full time position in a company, as often happens when people start as part time or temporary employees. Once the employee proves that he or she is a valuable asset, a request for more hours may be negotiable.

Compensation for a full time job may be offered in the form of salary. A salary is a set compensation, rather than an hourly wage. It has the advantage of being dependable and steady, but it can be disadvantageous for the employee, as he or she may end up working a great deal of overtime, since salary contracts usually do not include special compensation for extra hours. Of course, an employee receives the same salary when he or she works fewer than 40 hours, with some salaried employees being paid through vacation and sick time as well.

When an individual is applying for a job that is offering you full time benefits and hours, he or she should take time to sit down and read through the benefits package carefully. The best time to negotiate is when an offer has been made but the applicant hasn't accepted it yet. Individuals may be able to request additional salary or other benefits, especially if they are looking at multiple full time offers that can be used for leverage.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon324459 — On Mar 11, 2013

When I was in high school, I worked Monday through Friday 10 hours a day in a sawmill which was very physically demanding and still went to school every day and graduated. It is very difficult to do, but it can be done.

By healthy4life — On Oct 27, 2012

I know several people who have full time factory jobs. They get paid well, but they often have to get to work before sunrise, and during busy times, they have to work until after sunset.

They don't have the option to turn down overtime. Also, if they need time off because they are sick, they have to come back with a doctor's note.

Some of them have even been fired for missing a lot of work because of a sick kid. That is just wrong to me. Factories are not the best when it comes to employee treatment.

By JackWhack — On Oct 26, 2012

@giddion – I know what you mean. That's why I love my work at home job.

I used to be full time at an office, but now, I can set my own hours. The more I work, the more I make, but if I need time off for chores or any other reason, I can take it.

By giddion — On Oct 26, 2012

The main difference between a full time and part time job is that with part time, you still have time for other things. I had grown accustomed to my part time job and the extra time it allowed me, so when I switched to full time, I felt I had completely run out of time for anything else.

I hated getting home and still having to do laundry, do dishes, and cook dinner. I had no problem with all those things when I was part time, but with my full time commitment to work, I barely had the energy to take a shower!

By shell4life — On Oct 25, 2012

@andee – I work for a company that considers anything over 32 hours a week to be full time. I started out at 40 hours per week, but when times got tough, they cut me down to 33 hours.

They were trying to save money, and it was true that I did have less work to keep me busy. The cut in hours at work gave me extra time at home, both to sleep late in the mornings and to enjoy a bit of daylight after work.

Since I had just gotten married and my husband had a good job, we could afford the cut in pay. I got to keep my insurance and 401(k), as well as my sick and vacation time.

By John57 — On Oct 20, 2012

My husband has a full time job at a construction company. Even though he is considered full time, and usually works more than 40 hours a week, they don't have any kind of benefits for vacation time or sick pay. Basically, if you don't work, you don't get paid.

They do offer medical insurance plans to their employees, but this just covers major medical and they have no dental or vision benefits.

I have full time work from home but am not offered any benefits with this type of work, so we depend on my husbands job to receive our medical benefits. We are just thankful that both of us have a full time job, as it would be really hard to make ends meet without both of us working.

By golf07 — On Oct 20, 2012

One of the best ways I have found to find a full time job is using a temp agency. More than once a temporary job has led me to a full time position within the company. I see a lot of benefits to this for both the company and myself. It gives me a chance to see if I would enjoy the job and be a good fit for the company, and the company has the opportunity to see if I am capable of performing the job as a permanent employee.

By andee — On Oct 20, 2012

I see a lot of young people working fast food restaurant jobs and know they have a high turnover at these places. Most of these positions are also part time jobs.

At most full time jobs you have to work 40 hours a week to be able to take advantage of their benefit package. Insurance is one of the biggest advantages to receiving benefits. There are a few companies who will provide insurance benefits to employees who work less than 40 hours a week, but you don't see this very often.

By Mykol — On Oct 19, 2012

@anon139487-- I think each state may have different laws but in our state there are very few jobs available to young people who are under 16 years of age. Some companies will hire kids who are 15, but they are very limited with the number of hours they can work. Once they turn 16 they don't have those limitations and have more job opportunities.

I know a lot of high school kids want to work so they can have some spending money, but I think there also needs to be a balance. I let my kids work when they were teenagers, but if their grades started to slip, they had to quit.

I would never let them work a full time job while they were still in high school. I figure they have the rest of their lives to do that.

By chrissy3825 — On Apr 11, 2011

why is it that i am full time with sick and annual leave, time and half and double time, but don't get paid for a 38 hour week only the hours i work?

By anon139487 — On Jan 04, 2011

Hi Anon44299. I'm in high school too and I understand your issue about working full time when you're in school. You could possibly work five hours during the weekdays and eight hours a day on the weekend. That would be considered full time because you work 41 hours a week, but you would have to ask the manager of the place you are applying to work since you are a minor.

By anon103311 — On Aug 11, 2010

FTE does not stand for Full Time Employment. It stands for Full Time Equivalent and is used in many formulas for the purpose of calculating many things, for example, the small employer health care tax credit.

By anon44299 — On Sep 06, 2009

How do i work full time if i am in school?

By anon25351 — On Jan 27, 2009

How many hours is a full time job?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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