WHAT IS FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT: What It Is & How It Is Calculated

Full Time Equivalent Employees
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“Full-time equivalent” (also known as “FTE”) is a measurement unit that businesses and organizations frequently use in calculations for project management, business calculations, and eligibility for federal programs. A full-time equivalent (FTE), also referred to as a whole-time equivalent (WTE), is the total number of full-time hours that employees work for a specific business. FTEs show how many full-time employees a specific company employs during a fiscal year or needs to employ to complete a project in addition to calculating the number of hours worked. We will cover all the details of how to calculate this metric as well as its significance of it in this article.

What Is Full Time Equivalent 

A metric that an organization uses to calculate the total number of full-time employees in a given organization is full-time equivalent (FTE). A full-time equivalent (FTE) calculates the total number of full-time hours worked by all of an organization’s employees. If your business considers a full-time workweek to be 40 hours, an employee who works that many hours has an FTE of 1.0. Comparing a part-time worker’s hours worked to those of a full-time worker, the FTE of the part-time worker shows how many hours they put in. A part-time worker with a 20-hour workweek has an FTE of 0.5.

Benefits of Calculating FTEs

#1. Budgeting

FTEs are useful when making financial decisions. Managers and executives use this number to determine how much labor the business will need and how long it will take to complete a project or task. Finance teams use this data to plan financial projections and calculate revenue and profit per employee.

#2. Measure the Workload

FTEs also determine how many full- and part-time employees, as well as how many hours they should work, that a company can hire. Given the ongoing changes to part-time employees’ budgets and schedules, this is helpful when estimating employee outputs.

#3. Hiring Considerations

When determining whether hiring a part-time employee is more affordable than a full-time employee, a full-time equivalent is also helpful. Using the FTE, businesses can also determine how much to pay part-time workers on a pro-rata basis. 

How To Calculate FTE

#1. List of All Your Employees, Along With Their Hours Worked

Make a list of the employees who received a year-end W-2 form for payment. This list includes the name of each employee and how many hours they put in each week. Make sure to omit any time allotted for paid vacation days and sick days. 

#2. Specify How Many Hours a Full-Time Job Would Require

Most employers define a full-time position as working between 30 and 40 hours per week. If a company views 40 hours per week as the minimum requirement for a full-time position, they classify anyone working fewer hours as a part-time worker. Applying the same reasoning, a business might define a full-time position as one that works 30 hours per week on average. Employers may define full-time differently, but 40 hours per week is the norm. 

#3. Calculate Annual Hours Worked

Organizations must know the number of hours that full-time or part-time employees work during a year in order to calculate the FTEs. This can achieve this by dividing the number of weeks in a year by the number of hours required for a full-time job. For instance, a full-time worker who puts in 40 hours per week would clock 2,080 hours annually. 10 hours a week divided by 52 weeks a year equals 520 hours of work for a part-time worker.

#4. Calculate Total Annual Hours Worked for Part-Time and Full-Time Workers

Then they add the total number of hours that part-time workers and full-time workers have both worked For example, three full-time employees clock 6,240 hours in a year working 40 hours per week. Two part-time workers who each work 10 and 25 hours a week total 1,820 hours in a year.

#5. Decide Which FTEs Are Part-Time

Subtract the total number of part-time hours worked from 2,080, the number of full-time equivalents (FTE) that make up the workforce.

6. Calculate the Overall FTE

Once FTE is added for each full-time employee to the part-time FTE you calculated in step five to get the total number of FTEs worked.  

Why is FTE Important

Because it offers a uniform way to gauge how available employees are, FTE is significant. Compared to headcount, which counts the number of employees a company has, it may be a more insightful metric. Headcount does not account for part-time or full-time employment, which may mislead businesses about their capacity for production. Budgeting, payroll, and human resources are some areas where FTE may be important.

Uses of FTE Calculations

#1. Use FTEs to Determine Your Eligibility for Insurance and Tax Benefits

Businesses with a certain number of FTEs can only purchase certain health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. For instance, in order to be eligible for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), you must employ no more than 50 FTEs. If your company employs more than 50 FTEs, you must provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave in addition to more extensive health insurance plans.

#2. To Assess Productivity, Compare Employee FTEs.

Take a look at each employee’s FTE at your company. Given that there is 1 FTE for each full-time employee, they ought to complete about the same amount of work each day. If some full-time employees are working less efficiently than others, they need to improve if they are completing less work.

#3. To Determine the Number of Employees You Require for a Project, Check FTEs

Divide the estimated number of hours by the number of hours in a workweek if you know how long a project will take to complete. The outcome is how many full-time equivalent workers you’ll need to finish the project.

What Are Full Time Equivalent Employees 

Employees with full-time schedules plus those with part-time schedules that have been converted to full-time status are full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. Organizations calculate the number of full-time equivalent employees in each industry by taking the total number of employees and dividing the number by the proportion of full-time employees’ average weekly hours worked to all other employees’ average weekly hours worked. Unless there are no part-time workers in the industry, the full-time equivalent employment will be lower than the total number of employees in that sector.  

A company is using a theoretical standard if it chooses to base its FTE calculations on 2,080 hours rather than a lower number. This means that the number of hours is something that can only be theoretically reached by someone who works every holiday, doesn’t take any sick days, and doesn’t take any vacation days. 

What Is Full Time Equivalent Hours 

The employee’s scheduled hours must be divided by the quantity that equals the official weekly full-time schedule for the employer. By being able to convert the number of hours worked by their staff into a useful metric, such organizations can more effectively understand their workload, comprehend how to better allocate their resources, and successfully complete their projects on schedule. Today’s employees have a wide range of flexible employment options, including the ability to work part-time, only during certain seasons of the year, or in other ways. This metric offers a practical way to calculate the total number of hours put in by each type of employee, assisting businesses in more effectively managing their headcount.

What Is Full Time Equivalent in Healthcare 

Health professionals who are employed are counted as having a certain number of FTEs, or full-time equivalents. A company’s obligation to offer benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), for instance, is determined by the definition of the very specific term “FTE,” which is used in this context. In order to plan future budgets and staffing, employers can also keep an eye on workloads using FTE.

The formula for determining full-time equivalents (FTE) is to add up the total number of hours worked by part-time employees over the course of a week, month, or year, along with the total number of hours worked by full-time employees, and then divide by the typical number of hours worked by a full-time employee 

By giving employees access to health benefits and leave once your business reaches 50 FTE, accurately calculating FTE helps you comply with applicable labor laws and IRS reporting requirements. It also ensures you maintain compliance with the ACA and FMLA. Furthermore, FTE calculations provide you with a more accurate understanding of your current staffing levels so that you 

What Is the Full-Time Employee Equivalent? 

Full-time equivalents (FTEs) are a metric that substitutes hours worked for actual employee counts to estimate the number of full-time employees you have overall. Based on the average number of hours each part-time worker works each week, each counts as a portion of an FTE. 

What Is an Example of Full-Time Equivalent? 

Most times, businesses take employees who put in 40 hours a week, for instance, as one full-time equivalent (FTE), while those who put in 20 hours a week, or part-time, are making half an FTE.

How Do You Calculate Full-Time Equivalent Pay? 

Whether a worker works a full- or part-time schedule, their yearly compensation is converted into full-time equivalent pay. This estimation disregards the actual workload.

What Is Full-Time Equivalent vs Whole Time Equivalent? 

The term “full-time equivalent,” also known as “FTE,” refers to the number of full-time hours that a given organization’s staff works. In contrast to the total number of workers, the whole-time equivalent (WTE), which is expressed as a decimal number or percentage, reflects the total number of hours worked by each employee. Whole time equivalent (WTE), also known as full-time equivalent (FTE), is a unit of measurement that represents the workload of an employee (or student) in a way that makes workloads or class loads comparable across different contexts. 

How Many Hours Is a Full-Time Equivalent in a Year? 

If a person worked 40 hours per week for 52 weeks in a year, that would be 2080 hours. Employees spend 2,080 hours a year at an FTE of 1.0, according to our calculations. Holidays and days off from work are excluded from this. Additionally, this value represents the hours worked by an employee who works 5 days a week for 8 hours per day and is only used as a starting point for calculating the annual FTE. 

How Many Hours per Month Is Full-Time Equivalent?

One FTE should be regarded as working a 40-hour workweek when discussing full-time equivalents. By dividing 40 hours per week by four weeks, you can quickly and easily calculate the number of hours in a month, which comes to 160.

However, the IRS only requires 30 hours per week, or 130 hours per month, to regard a worker as full-time in terms of the position they hold.

In reality, these hours still typically range between 32 and 40 per week, with 40 hours per week (eight hours per day, five days per week) being the typical standard for a full-time schedule.


Depending on the purpose of the calculation, FTE has a variety of applications and calculation approaches. It will aid in project planning, deadline setting, and budget computation. 

Furthermore, knowing each employee’s FTEs precisely will enable employers to make decisions regarding their obligations to them, their PTO rates, and whether the company qualifies for particular federal programs. Choose the proper calculation method, then proceed with it after deciding why you want to use FTE.

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