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What Is the Difference between a VA and an Employee?

Are you a business owner considering hiring a virtual assistant (VA)? Or are you employed by a business and thinking about becoming a VA? Either way, this blog is for you! We dive into the differences between a virtual assistant and an employee, and the pros and cons of both.

Virtual Assistant

In our increasingly digitized world, virtual assistants are on the rise. The fact of being able to outsource work without needing to hire a permanent employee or have them undergo any training is appealing to business owners. Additionally, VAs resemble freelancers since they are hired on a contract basis by clients (businesses). This means that clients do not have to pay VAs overtime, holiday pay, health benefits or any other finances other than what’s agreed upon in the contract.

When it comes to training for a specified job, the business is only expected to provide the VA with a clear set of instructions for what they want to be done; the VA is responsible for any training requirements.

In addition to this, VAs aren’t expected to work a typical 9-5 job (that’s one of the perks of being a virtual assistant!) and therefore this can be a pro or a con. Some will prefer to work during the weekends or early mornings, but it’s a general understanding that all deadlines will be met.

If you’re in search of an online executive assistant, VAs are also a great option. Virtual assistants are not only able to help you with your business needs, but also your personal ones. When it comes to booking appointments, organizing your personal schedule with your business one, or helping you style your next boardroom look– look no further.

One thing you can’t expect a VA to do is to relocate to accommodate you as a client. Being that VAs aim to assist clients virtually (from anywhere in the world). This benefits you as well in that you don’t have to worry about things like WCB (workers compensation) by having another employee in the office. Additionally, if you have to switch your operations online (in cases such as COVID-19) you won’t have to train your VA to work remotely or set them up with a new at-home setup (laptop etc.).


One of the biggest benefits that you will receive from hiring an employee over contracting a VA is that employees will provide you with more loyalty than a VA. Virtual assistants likely have more than one contract on the go (unless the contract states exclusivity) and therefore any loyalty is going to be to you as a customer, but not necessarily to solely you and your business. An employee on the other hand will typically show loyalty to you as their employer and the business they work for. They might demonstrate this loyalty by showing up on time for work every day, referring friends and family to the company, and maintaining their employment within the company.

Unlike a VA, employees are typically scheduled to work certain hours and in the office, unless otherwise stipulated. Along with this, it’s expected that you as an employer will provide employees with extended healthcare benefits, holiday pay and overtime.

Hiring a permanent employee also means that employers are expected to train their employees for any tasks their job description entails. This can include training at the beginning of their employment or on a semi-annual or annual basis.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that VAs are not responsible for obtaining degrees or certifications. Most VAs will let you know about any additional training or schooling they have done prior to signing a contract with you. On the other hand, by hiring an employee you as the employer can request that applicants have a specific degree or certification to aid in their job. Alternatively, you can send employees to schools for certification or degrees while maintaining their employment. VAs are not required to obtain any additional certifications unless it benefits them and is done on their own time.

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