The difference between permanent and full-time jobs

People often mix up the words "permanent" and "full time" when they are talking about jobs.

It's important to understand what they mean, so you can be clear about what a job requirement is.   To do this, you need to think about two questions:
  • How long will the job last for:
  • How many hours per week - on average - do I work for?

How long will the job last?

If you work every week (except for agreed holidays) and there is no expected end-date, then your job is permanent.   Your employment contract may say it is a "contract of infinite duration" (in Ireland) or something similar (in other countries).

If you have regular work but know that it won't last forever, then your job is temporary. Another word for this is fixed-term.  Often, but not always, you know the expected end-date when you first start. 

Some reasons why a job might be temporary:
  • You are covering for someone who is away, eg on maternity leave or a career-break
  • You are doing a project (eg building a road, moving a shop, setting up a display )   
  • If the government or a charity is funding your employer, then your employer may say that the job will only last for as long as they keep getting the funding.
  • The job is based on seasons of the year, eg picking fruit, milking cows, or serving tourists.

If you are not guaranteed any work each week and are rostered or called in when you are needed, then your job is casual.    Another word for this is that you have have a zero-hour contract.   In Ireland, this became illegal in March 2019, unless the work really is casual.  Reasons why a job might be casual:
  • You provide cover when the regular staff are out sick:  when they're healthy, there's no need for you.
  • It's for a one off event that, which is unlike the rest of the year.   Eg a hotel in Galway needs very many extra wait-staff, bar-tenders and kitchen porters for a summer race meeting each year, but doesn't need them for the rest of the year.
  • You are only needed when unexpected things happen:  eg retained firefighters only get paid when they're called out.

How many hours do I work each week?

If you work for a certain number of hours each week, usually 30 or more (but it's different in some countries) , then your job is described as full-time.   Most people who have a full-time job only have one job.   You don't need to work exactly the same hours each week, or the same number of hours each day - just 30 or more hours in on average, every week.

If you work for a smaller number of hours each week, eg 8 or 15  or 25, then your job is part-time.   The idea is that you have enough "work time" free each week that you can do something else, for example another job, or study.

If you work for a different number of hours each week, and your employment contract doesn't say that you will get at least any hours, then your job is casual.

Putting this together

This diagram shows how job length and job hours combine to describe different work patterns:

No type of job is intrinsically better - although depending on your life-stage, some job-types might suit you better at the moment.   Eg   a person looking for a mortgage often wants a permanent job, while a student might like a casual job which gives lots of time off.

Some complications!

Real-life is sometimes complicated  Some people job-share, and work every second week.   Some jobs have shifts that are organised in different ways , eg 4 days on / 4 days off.

In these cases, to work out full-time vs part-time, you need to look at the average over three months:   add up all the hours you work, and divide the total by 13 to find out your hours /week.

The ideas of full-time and permanent don't look at whether your work the same days and hours, or if these can change either on a pattern (eg days one week and nights the next) or overall  (your 40 hours are different every week.    A job which is like this is described as shift-work - but there is no one way of describing the types of shifts.

A different way of thinking about full time

Some people have another way of thinking about full-time:  They say that the are full-time if they only work for one employer, and part-time if they have more than one job -  no matter how many hours they work at each place, or overall.

This comes from the idea that a full-time job keeps you totally busy, while a part-time one gives you time for other things, ie it only keeps you busy part of the time.

Working cash-in-hand in Ireland

When you are looking for a job, some people may ask you to work “cash in hand” or “under the table”.

This means that they will pay you in cash, not through a bank account.   Also, they won't deduct any tax, and usually will not give you a pay-slip, either.

At first, this sounds great:   you know exactly what you will earn, and everyone wants to pay less tax!

There are times when it’s the only practical way to work - for example, if you are using your own lawnmower to cut lawns, you only see each “employer” once a month for half an hour, they can ring up and cancel at any time, and you can do the work when you're ready (within reason) . But most jobs aren’t like this.

But there are some reasons why it's not-so-great too:   Before you agree to work “cash in hand”, you should understand what it means for your tax, welfare and employment rights.

Problems with working cash-in-hand

It’s against the law

The law in Ireland says that anyone who employs a person must:
  • Deduct tax from their wages and send this to the tax-department (who are called “Revenue”), and
  • Pay employer’s tax (called Employer-PRSI).

There are times when an employer doesn’t need to do this is if the job doesn’t meet Revenue’s “employee test”.  You can read about the "is this person an employee" test here, short, if you are working:
  • in someone's building, 
  • at times they say, 
  • using their equipment 
  • being supervised by them 
then you are most likely are an employee, and your employer needs to be looking after the tax.

If you are working for someone and they don’t deduct tax and pay PRSI, then they are breaking the law. If Revenue find out about it, then they can be fined.

The law also says that you need to tell the Revenue any money you earn, and to pay the tax you owe on this. Most people don’t need to do anything about this, because their employers do it for them.

But if you work for an employer who isn’t sending your tax-deductions to Revenue, then you are responsible for telling them (this is called "declaring your income") and paying the tax. If you don’t do this, then you are breaking the law. And if Revenue find out about it later, then they may charge you a fine.

You won’t get social welfare

The second big problem with working under the table is that it can stop you being eligible to get social welfare.

The tax that is paid by workers and employers in Ireland includes Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI).

For each week that you earn money and pay tax, you also earn one “PRSI Credit”.   (Some people call these “stamps”).

If you have enough PRSI-Credits, then:
  • If you lose your job, you can get Jobseekers Benefit
  • If you get sick, you can get Illness Benefit
  • If you have a baby, you can get Maternity Benefit
  • When you are old, you can get State Pension
  • and some other social-welfare benefits too
If any of these things happen, and you don't have enough PRSI credits, then you don't automatically get any welfare benefit.    You might be able to get some other social-welfare allowances, but they are a lot harder to get. And if your employer won’t give you a letter saying you were working there - so you won’t be able to prove you lost your job, which means you may not even get Jobseekers Allowance.

It may be impossible to get your other employment rights

Ireland has laws about your rights at work. These are about things like minimum wage, hours of work, being paid for the hours you work, jury duty, maternity leave, health and safety, equality, etc.

If your employer is breaking these laws, then you can ask the government to make them treat you correctly.

But if you are working cash-in-hand, then your employer can say that you don’t work for them at all - and you can’t prove that you do.

In the same way, if you have an accident at work and your employer says that it’s your fault because you were trespassing - you can’t prove that you were supposed to be there.

What do do

If someone asks you to work cash-in-hand or under-the-table, then you need to weigh up the costs and benefits, and decide if it’s worth taking the risk.

In Ireland, people who earn under approx €18,000 in a year don’t have to pay very much tax anyway, - so some decide that for the amount of tax they save, it's just not worth the risk.

If you do decide to take do it for short time, then make sure you don’t stay in the job for long: The longer you stay there, the more time you are not earning “stamps” and so the more chance you will have a big problem if company eventually closes - or even several years later.

And, of course, either way you should make sure that you are declaring your income to Revenue, and paying the right amount of tax.

Note:  the Staff-Wanted network are not lawyers or accountants.  This is very simple description of the issues   If you need legal or tax advice, please consult a professional.

Institutes of Technology in Ireland which teach professional cooking / chefing

In general, at third-level in Ireland:
  • Universities offer provide study in academic and professional-level subjects
  • Institutes of Technology offer study and training in practical / technical subjects, leading to degree and diploma qualifications
  • Regional Education and Training boards offer courses in practical subjects, leading to certificate qualifications.
Most professional cooking course are taught in institutes of technology (IT's).

Not every county or area has its own IT.   The IT's don't all have the same courses, and they don't all teach chefs / professional cooking.  And they are all organised differently, so the name of the department or school which teaches chefing is different, too.

Below is a list of the ITs that do have courses for people who want to become chefs, and the name of the school or department which runs these courses.

Changes to employment laws in Ireland in March 2019

Some new laws about employee rights apply from 4 March 2019 - thanks to the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018,

This is a plain English list of the main changes.

If you need more information, see a full explanation of the changes here.

Please note:  the Staff-Wanted network aren’t lawyers - and this is very simple description of the changes.   If you think there is a problem with these new laws and your job, then you need to check the details with a lawyer: do NOT rely on this article.)

What does the new law say

Most of the changes are for people who work part time, temporary or casual jobs - exactly the ones that are listed on Staff-Wanted.

Very roughly:

  • You must get a written contract within  five days
  • Zero hours contracts aren't allowed  (but there are exceptions)
  • If you're called, you should get at least three hours pay
  • If you work more hours than you contact says for 12 months, then your should be changed.
  • Minimum wage is basedon your age, not working time after age 18.

Read on for more details about how these rules will work.

Where to find government jobs in Ireland

Although there are some centralised recruiting services, there is no one place to look for government jobs in Ireland.

This is a list of places that government jobs may be advertised - and many are also advertised in the same way as non-government jobs.
  • Public Appointments Service (PAS)
    Officially "the centralised provider of recruitment, assessment and selection services for the Civil Service, Local Authorities, the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and other public bodies" - this website lists many, but certainly not not all, public-service jobs.
  • City and county councils all list jobs on their own website:  there is one attempt at a central website ( - but it only has jobs from a few local authorities.
  • Regional education and training boards - again, there is no central website for jobs in these bodies.   You need to check each region separately.
  • ActiveLink - produces a weekly bulletin of social care volunteering and paid work vacancies.  Many of these jobs are government funded.  People who work for them are often paid on government pay-scales - but are employed by charities / non-government-organisations etc, not the government. 

Happy Birthday!

We're a year old!

The Staff Wanted network has been sharing jobs advertised in "shop windows" in Galway city for a year this week- so it seemed like a good time to celebrate, and look at what's been achieved so far.

To date ...

We've listed 813 jobs (more coming later today), got 329 followers on Facebook and 155 in Twitter.   Our home page has been viewed 38,437 times - and we've lost count of the number of views of individual jobs.   A blog has been started, and lots of ideas for useful posts have been written down.

Where did Staff-Wanted come from?

The idea was dreamed up back in 2010, when Ireland was deep in a recession, professionals were expected to work for free on "Job Path", and some hospitaility employers were offering one-week unpaid "job trials" after which no one was ever hired.

An unemployed inner-city-based IT worker was learning about websites, and wondered about using one to share the job-advertisements around the city with people who couldn't afford to travel in to job-hunt every day - and to avoid being ripped of.  A few friends tossed the idea around, the first website was set up, and a few job-adverts were even posted.   But the time wasn't quite right, gathering job-info was slow, and some paid work came up to keep people busy.

Fast-forward to late 2017, and suddenly the time, skills and opportunity came together:  the website was re-vamped, policies revised, and the much-improved mobile phone cameras and Facebook gave the whole idea a boost.

What next?

A few ideas are in the works.   It would be great to take the idea to another location, and possibly work with a community group or job-club gathering job listings.   Some "how to" tools are being developed, to help people who work in jobs that are typically advertised in "shop windows" - and people who employ them.

The basics will stay the same though
  • Only jobs which could be advertised by hanging a sign outside the workplace: 
  • No scraping from other jobs websites or Facebook pages - this isn't a replacement for career websites
  • Genuine, legal, paid-work vacancies only
  • No commission selling
  • No unpaid work-experience programmes.

In the meantime ... let's celebrate!