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Preparing a Reduced Work Hours Agreement

Characteristics of Change Resilient People


TOOLS: Preparing a Reduced Work Hours Agreement

There are a number of things to consider when proposing a move from full-time to part-time employment as the implications for both you and your employer can be quite significant. The likelihood of your employer agreeing to change your hours of work depends on the strength of the case you put forward and your ability to prove that you have considered the impact on all stakeholders and have a viable plan for addressing them. Donít expect your manager to do the work for you. Consider the following questions and craft a written proposal that addresses all the items that are relevant to your particular job.
  1. Meet with Human Resources to make sure you understand how moving to part-time status affects your eligibility for your companyís pension and benefits programs. In some companies the employee cost of benefits is higher for part-time employees than full-time employees (e.g. 50% of premiums paid by the part-time employee versus 25% for full-time employees). How are vacation entitlement and sick day benefits affected? How is statutory holiday pay affected? If a business change leads to the elimination of your job, how will your part-time status and reduced income affect your severance? Will severance be calculated on your current reduced salary? Document what youíve learned in your proposal so your manager can confirm the details and be assured youíre entering into this new employment arrangement understanding the implications.
  2. What days are you proposing to work? Will you work the same days each week or are you prepared/able to be flexible in response to changing business needs (e.g. if an important training program is scheduled for one of your normal days off, would you be willing to change your schedule for that week?)
  3. What hours will you work? Are there core business hours or busy periods during the day and how will your scheduled hours ensure that business gets done when it needs to get done? What happens during peak vacation periods? Are you prepared to help out by working full-time hours during these times?
  4. How will the work youíve been doing in 5 days get done when youíre working reduced hours? Will the company need to hire another part-time employee? Have you found a job sharing partner? Can the work be done over a longer time period so that no additional staff is required?
  5. How will you keep yourself informed about whatís happened at the office on your days off? How will your reduced hours affect colleagues and customers? How will you ensure their needs are met on a timely basis? Put yourself in your colleaguesí shoes. If you propose working Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday will this make it impossible for your co-workers to take a Friday and Monday off and enjoy the occasional long weekend?
  6. Are there benefits to the company to you moving to reduced work hours? Will they be able to save salary dollars? Benefits expenses?
  7. Consider proposing a trial period for both you and the company. Suggest giving it a try for a 3 month period. Take the initiative to schedule monthly review meetings with your manager to discuss how things are going and whether changes need to be made to the agreement to meet either of your needs. In your proposal, provide the opportunity for either you or your employer to end the arrangement if itís not working out for either party. Be sure to specify how much notice is required to change the arrangement.
  8. Think about what happens when youíre ready to go back to work full-time. Remember, most organizations are working with business plans that specify how many FTEs (full-time equivalents) are budgeted for. Just because youíre ready to increase your hours doesnít mean the company has the business need for you to work more hours or the budget to pay you. What will be the process for getting you back to full-time work? Will you continue to work part-time until a full-time position is posted? Document the answers to these questions in your proposal.

Once youíve developed your proposal, the next steps include:

Download the the tool and sample agreement as a pdf file
Download the tool and sample agreement as a MS Word file

Karen Todd is a professional speaker, writer, and consultant. She can be reached at 416-284-6752, karen@karentodd.com , or visit www.karentodd.com