A prospective employer has told me that part-time employees receive a lower hourly pay than full-time employees for the same work. I have always understood that because part-timers don't receive benefits, the hourly pay was slightly higher. Which is the case?
It depends on the level of work the part-time employee is being asked to perform. If part-time employees in the company are expected to perform at a minimal level - in other words, have minimum experience - then it is likely that the company will pay part-time employees less than full-time employees, who may be expected to be more proficient at their job. A part-timer may do the same job as a full-time employee, without necessarily performing the job at the same level.
You're right that companies sometimes pay their part-time employees a little more than full-time employees to make up for the lack of benefits part-time employees receive. However, this usually happens when part-time employees have at least as much experience as their full-time counterparts - they can hit the ground running when they start the job. In order to retain employees with those types of skills and experience, a company may give part-time employees an incentive by paying them a little more.
- Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional