03 Mar 2021

The Difference Between Contract, Part-Time and Full-Time Workers

Long-term employees often feel they have a personal stake in the success of the company and become great word-of-mouth marketing tools. As the employer of a 1099 contractor, your only responsibility is to pay the contractor’s fees as invoiced, then supply a Form-1099 each January detailing payments made. Whether you’ve gone as far as you can in a full-time contract position vs full time role, you value free time over comfortability, you enjoy a new challenge—or all the above— contract work is for you. Practical and real-world advice on how to run your business — from managing employees to keeping the books. At the end of the day, an employee isn’t necessarily better than a contractor; it depends what the needs of your business are.

Doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, and many other professionals who provide independent services are classified as independent contractors by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It’s truly astounding how few business owners properly account for the real cost of their labor. And in a services business, these errors can even result in spending more to provide a service than you’re charging for it. Unfortunately, like all too many hiring managers, Andre’s financial analysis was overly simplistic and highly flawed as a result.

Managing your workers with Square Payroll

You can do so by automatically importing them through Square Payroll, a third-party timecard application, or manually entering them. Employers must mail W-2 forms to their employees by January 31 of the following calendar year. But with the pros, like lower cost, can come cons, like the lack of control you might have over your contractor’s schedule. The IRS notes that there is no magic formula that makes someone an employee or a contractor.

Some candidates want to check out new professional opportunities without committing full time. A contract position fills holes in a client’s workforce, and is an increasingly popular element of staffing management plans for employers. Usually, a contract worker does work for a company and is legally employed by a staffing agency or employer of record partner. The employee works at your client’s business, but you or a third party are the employer of record. As a recruiter, your role is to show candidates the advantages of contract work.

You don’t need to list every job

As a result, there can be little to no expectation of a long-term working relationship with your contractor, and you will always need a plan in place for how you will proceed if the contractor becomes unavailable. The upside to independent contracting is like W-2 contracting in that you have the freedom to choose when, where, and with whom you work. However, these jobs lack benefit offerings, and you’ll likely have to use your own equipment and supplies to complete your work. Wondering what the differences are between contract, part-time and full-time workers?

She is passionate about economic development and is on the board of two non-profit organizations seeking to revitalize her former railroad town. Prior to joining the team at Forbes Advisor, Cassie was a Content Operations Manager and Copywriting Manager at Fit Small Business. Make sure you know these details before accepting temp work and for further information, you can consult the US government’s department of labor website here. This is when you compare it to a person working full time at the same company that may get caught up in a layoff.

Check State and Local Labor Laws

One of the biggest differences between independent contractors and full-time W2 employees is who pays for all the supplies. For the W2 employee, the business either directly pays for or reimburses the employee for all supplies needed to complete the job efficiently. Because, in reality, the hourly or flat-fee rate that you pay for an independent contractor will most likely be higher than you’d pay an employee to perform the same services.

contract position vs full time

And you aren’t covering them with workers’ comp and unemployment insurance when you should be. The ACA also requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to offer affordable, minimum essential healthcare coverage (or pay a penalty) and report additional information to the IRS. An employer is considered an ALE if they had at least 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) during the previous year. In other words, even if you don’t have 50 full-time employees, you might still be considered an ALE if all your employees’ work hours add up to the equivalent of 50 full-time workers’ hours.


More commitment from Andrea meant more involvement in the business’s operation and culture, which had major flaws. The business owner simply didn’t invest in or value his full-time employees. Instead, he demanded they work long hours for barely competitive wages, offered meager benefits, and provided no development path for talented workers like Andrea. The classification difference between contract vs. full-time employees is vital. Generally, you can think of a contractor as providing services for you, but who’s working independently and pays taxes on money they receive from you. An employee, on the other hand, is on your team — you’re their supervisor, responsible for their behavior and also reporting their taxes.

  • A complete Employer of Record (EOR) platform for onboarding, payroll, and compliance – so you can hire without the hassle.
  • Arun Sundararajan, a management professor at New York University and author of The Sharing Economy, says “this is the work arrangement for the future.” The new normal will be freelance work.
  • Once you’ve filled out all your 1099-MISC forms, you need to fill out Form 1096 with a summary of all the 1099s you prepared, and send this to the IRS by January 31.
  • This is especially important if you have a long list of temporary experiences.

A contractor – also called a contract worker, independent contractor or freelancer – is a self-employed worker who operates independently on a contract basis. A contractor can work for a company but is not technically on their payroll. Not to mention, you’ll have the freedom to choose which projects you want to take on, setting your own schedule in the process. In a contract role, you’re not often held to a set schedule like a full-time employee. Contract positions are especially appealing to those who are caregivers, people who have multiple jobs, or those who just want a greater sense of work-life balance. As a W-2 contractor, you’ll be hired for a predetermined amount of time to complete a specific project for the company.

However, you don’t have to pay for benefits or Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment taxes when you hire a contractor. Because of that, many businesses find independent contractors to be more cost efficient. A 1099-MISC is used to report payments made to independent contractors (who cover their own employment taxes). A W-2 form, on the other hand, is used for employees (whose employer withholds payroll taxes from their earnings).

Full-time work ensures a consistent monthly income, so you’ll likely have an easier time budgeting and planning your finances over long periods of time. While you’re busy organizing your funds, in the background your company will be withholding and managing your taxes for you. Our free tool makes it easy to compare the differences between health insurance options. You can easily compare deductibles, premiums, and coverage levels to find the best possible health insurance plan for your employees and your contractors. Contract workers are becoming an increasingly attractive option for businesses.

Please note that the information contained herein is limited in scope and is only intended as an overview of the differences in reporting forms for independent contractors and employees. The information is based on current and active legislation, which may change in the future. It is not tax or legal advice that you can rely upon for your business and cannot be relied upon for the purpose of avoiding taxes and/or penalties that may be assessed from using the information contained herein.