Permanent employees, regular employees or the directly employed, work for an employer and are paid directly by that employer. Permanent (regular) employees do not have a predetermined end date to employment. In addition to their wages, they often receive benefits like subsidized health care, paid vacations, holidays, sick time, or contributions to a 401(k) retirement plan. Permanent employees are often eligible to switch job positions within their companies. Even when employment is “at will”, permanent employees of large companies are generally protected from abrupt job termination by severance policies, like advance notice in case of layoffs, or formal discipline procedures. They may be eligible to join a union, and may enjoy both social and financial benefits of their employment.
With exception of South Korea where extensive laws and regulations make firing of permanent employees nearly impossible, rarely does “permanent employment” mean employment of an individual that is guaranteed throughout the employee’s working life. In the private sector, with the notable exception of academic tenure, such jobs are rare; permanent employment is far more common in the public sector, where it is often used to strengthen civil service independence from politicians.