Can I become full-time?

I work almost full-time, averaging 35 hours per week, fairly regularly since sometime last year.  The only benefit I get is a 401k plan. For almost a year and a half, a temp from an agency works at least 32 hours weekly in a similar position. This makes me believe there could be a full-time position. I’ve been a reliable employee with the company for a few years.  I’ve already talked to the manager about making me full-time, and he says this national corporation doesn’t want to pay benefits; I know they are paying $6.00 more for the temp (wages + employment agency fees) than they are for me hourly.  If I was full-time, my hourly pay might go up at least a few dollars. I know there is no federally designated number of hours for an employee to work to be considered full-time.  I am wondering if this company is violating some state labor laws and if there is a way that I can encourage them to make me full-time and offer me more benefits.

Asked on February 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no point at which the law mandates you a become "full time" employee and receive benefits. First, companies are not required to pay any benefits, ever--it is voluntary, for example, for a company to offer health insurance, vacation days, sick days, etc., and it would be perfectly legal for a company to never offer these. Second, companies are allowed to fill any or every position with contract employees, through a temp or staffing agency; there is no law requiring them to actually have staff of their own, or to ever transition contact workers to their own payroll. Finally, you should bear in mind that given the cost of insurance, the cost of offering paid time off, and the increased headaches of staff vs contract help, the company is almost certainly coming out well ahead if they are only paying an extra $6.00/hour for you through the agency--that is, what the company is doing is very logical from an economic point of view.


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