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Please help- asking boss to switch to Part Time

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi ladies,

I have a full time job a typical corporate office in the Financial Services industry. I'm currently 18 weeks along with this LO and after I give birth I would like to switch to working part time. I already have a flexible work schedule (come in anytime 5am-9am, take lunch whenever I want for however long I want or not at all, leave anytime after 3pm), as long as I get my 40 hours in the the week.

Part time workers are generally unheard of in my office, but it's what I think is best for our family. We did have 1 woman work 36 hours a week (4 9's and Fridays off), but she faced criticism for "not being dedicated" and switched back to full time after a year.

Ideally I would like to switch to 20 hours a week, and am flexible on how I spend it (3 6.5 hour days, 4 5 hour days, etc)- however I am open to them negotiating to me working more hours if I have to.

What I need help with is how to go to my boss and ask permission for this. Do I write it in a letter so she can take it to her manager or to HR? What do I put in the letter?

Please help! Any advice would be appreciated!

post #2 of 4

I think you need to spell out how your flexibility will benefit the company. You work in an industry where part time is far from the norm, so you'll have to think outside the box: could you job share with another part time person? Are you willing to cover times that would be hard for others (i.e., coming in early to cover markets in other time zones, etc.?) I think it's not a good sign that the other woman was forced out of part time. Talk to her and see what the biggest criticisms of her were, and then think of counter arguments to each. I'd write it up, but schedule an in-person meeting with the boss you think is most likely to be your advocate. Just use your notes to prompt you when you talk to them. 


ETA: it's good that you are already able to set your own schedule, it shows that you effectively manage your time. Emphasize that you'll be putting in the full part time schedule, with options for the long term, like coming back when your child's in school (if that's true.)

post #3 of 4
I think Erin has some great advice. Giving your boss and company reasons why this is good for them is what you need to do and I think talking to the woman who worked 36 hours a week is a good idea too if she is still around. And I think presenting it as "Let's try it for 6 months/1 year and then reevaluate and at anytime during if it isn't working for you or the company, again reevaluate. Also yes if there is a sure end date when you would go back FT (when your youngest is in school or whatever), then present that. Would you be willing to take a benefits cut, assuming it is legal for them to cut your benefits, and possibly a pay cut more than just half your pay for half your time? I wouldn't open with willingness to do that, but I would be open to them suggesting it or possibly suggesting it yourself while negotiating if you think you need to.
post #4 of 4

Hi Twilight Joy! Wow, 18 weeks, I can't believe it has been that long since we both got BFPs!


First, how valuable/replaceable are you? This will help determine how "demanding" you can be. Basically, if they truly value you, you can frame it as, "This is the schedule that will allow me to balance my work and family responsibilities."


1. Definitely spell it out for yourself in writing. Write down your argument and practice it multiple times. You have to demonstrate how (1) you will be able to fulfill all of your responsibilities and (2) the company will get all of its needs met. Only you know all of these details. It probably makes sense to suggest a regular schedule when you are part time, so that they know when they can rely on your rapid response, and when you are doing other things (unless you are prepared to respond to emails all the time, for example, which might be better, or not, depending on your work).  Have you thought about the implications for your benefits, etc? Important to think through every detail.


2. Go to your boss and talk, don't do it in a letter or email. There is much more room for negotiation in a conversation. But be firm in what you want, present it in a way that looks beneficial to everyone and is nonantagonistic.


3. Once you have verbal agreement, put it in writing and have your supervisor sign off.

I decided about 3 months ago that I wanted to work 20 hours, and that I deserved higher pay. I didn't think it was reasonable to go in and ask for both, and decided I was going to instead quit and try to figure out another way to make the $$ I needed every month. I practiced my quitting speech several times, and remember telling myself not to pause so that he couldn't interrupt (because I knew he would try to convince me to stay). I had thought through exactly what it would take for me to be happy (20 hrs and more pay/hr), and so I was able to negotiate exactly what I wanted, on the spot. He threw out the number 30 hours a week, and I said, no, it would have to be 20, but that even then I wasn't paid at a fair rate. I could not believe how effective I had been when I got out of that meeting, and it was because I was not happy, knew exactly what it would take to make me happy, and was willing to risk losing the job in order to get it (not sure if same is true for you). This tactic, while I would not recommend it in most cases, ended up being very effective! I suddenly had all of the bargaining power.

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