Employment Status


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Employment Status


Employment status is a legal term that refers to the relationship between a former or current employer and an employee. The term also references the set of rights and protections that employers are required to provide to employees. 


Some countries (Canada is an example) have strictly defined the term employment status, but in the United States, most companies use the term to refer to the implied or written contract that exists between an employee and an employer. The term employment status is also used in the regulation of Medicare. 


In the U.S., the employment type can be any of the following:


  • Full-time employment: Per the Internal Revenue Service, a full-time employee is defined as one who typically works 130 or more hours in a calendar month (30-40 hours per week). 

  • Part-time employment: An employee is usually classified as part-time if they work fewer than 30 in a week. 

  • Contract or temporary employment: Temporary employees, sometimes called contingent workers, are hired for a specific period of time or for special projects with defined ending dates. 

  • Seasonal: Retail companies hire workers during peak times such as holidays and back-to-school. 

  • Apprenticeship: An apprenticeship is a paid training experience that often leads to a full-time job and an industry-recognized credential. 



If a person normally works 40 hours per week but has taken leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), they are still considered a full-time employee. Alternatively, if a part-time employee who typically works 20 hours per week works 40 hours one week, they will be paid overtime pay of time and a half but are still considered a part-time employee.