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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Employee Type

List of Employee Types

Employee types refer to the different types of employees an organization might consider hiring to fulfill a role or task within the company. There are 11 different employee types employers might consider hiring depending on their needs.

Full-Time Employees

  • Work minimum hours established by employer

  • In the United States a full-time employee is commonly considered any employee who works a minimum of 36 hours per week, but employers have latitude in defining full-time employment. Be sure you understand the laws in your state about full-time employment.

  • Full-Time employees can be either salaried or on hourly pay.

  • Full-Time employees receive benefits more often than other employee-types. Benefits may include healthcare, paid-time-off, 401Ks, etc.

  • Federal and state laws require you to offer certain benefits to full-time employees. For example, you must comply with the Federal Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) act, and some states require companies to offer paid maternity and paternity leave.

Part-Time Employees

  • Part-time employees are employees who typically work less than 36 hours total each week.

  • Part-Time employees can sometimes choose their own hours, but not always.

  • Seasonal employees may still be considered part-time, even if they work 40 hours per week, because of the temporary nature of their position.

  • Part-time employees generally do not receive employee benefits and employers are not typically required to provide benefits for part-time employees, although companies are increasingly offering benefits to their part-time workers.

Independent Contractors

  • These employees are under contract to provide a specified good or service to individuals, companies, or corporations.

  • They are expected to work according to the needs of their employer.

  • No taxes are withheld from an independent contractor’s pay. They must file their own taxes using an IRS Form 1099-MISC. Be sure you understand the IRS definition of an independent contractor, as the IRS can impose heavy fines for misclassification.

  • Independent contractors are also responsible for their own benefits and supplies. These are typically eligible as tax deductions.

Temporary Employees

  • Temporary employees are only hired to work for a determined length of time.

  • Employee benefits are not typically required for temporary employees.

  • They are often hired through agencies for a temporary position. However, some temporary employees may be hired on probation with the possibility of a permanent position after their temp position is over.


  • These employees consist of individuals or companies that have a contractual obligation to fulfill another individual’s or company’s work.

Tenured Employees

  • Usually refers to employees in an academic setting such as a tenured professor or teacher.

  • Tenured employees are contracted individuals that cannot be terminated without just cause.

  • Tenure was implemented to create a sense of job security for academics and ensure they could present controversial subject matter or findings or pursue controversial research without fear of termination.

At-Will Employees

  • At-will employees include most of the employees in the United States.

  • At-will employees can be dismissed at any time for any legal reason without warning, except in the state of Montana.

  • At-will employees have their own rights as well, including the right to quit a job or go on strike without prior notice to their employer.

Leased Employees

  • Employed by a PEO (professional employer organization).

  • Leased employees perform work for the companies who lease them.

  • They work for a period of time that could be fairly short or last over a year.

  • The PEO handles payroll, fees, and taxes for leased employees, but management is the responsibility of the company leasing the employees.

Job-Share Employees

  • In a job-share situation, a full-time position is split between two or more employees.

  • Employees in this situation are able to receive employee benefits prorated according to their job-share situation.

Apprenticed Employees

  • Apprenticed employees learn a trade or skill from a more experienced journeyman.

  • Journeymen teach apprentices the skills needed for their trade and how to get the necessary licenses to operate in their trade.


  • Once an apprenticed employee completes their apprenticeship and has obtained all required and necessary certifications for their profession, they are considered a journeyman or master.

  • Journeymen and Masters work in industries and fields that require license certifications and highly specialized training. Electricians, for example, are required to be licensed by local state and city municipalities.


  • While akin to apprentices, interns are usually focused on white-collar career paths instead of trades.

  • Interns work under higher-level management and may be full or part-time.

  • Internships may be paid or unpaid; however, there are federal regulations regarding who qualifies as an unpaid intern, with some states having additional requirements.

  • Check your FLSA regulations to make sure you’re compliant when hiring paid or unpaid interns.

Finding the right employee type for a position depends on the needs of the employer and the nature of the work they are hiring for. Employers should also consider the impact different employee types have on company culture.

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