5 Tips for negotiating part time hours

When I had my son, I took 12 months maternity leave and then returned to work part time, three days per week. Working part time is the perfect balance for me. It means I get to spend quality time at home with my son while continuing to do a job I love.

Negotiating part time hours with an employee can sometimes be tricky. I was actually the first person in my team to do it successfully. So I wanted to share with you my top five tips returning to work after having a baby and negotiating part time hours.

Be prepared: It’s important to know your rights and have the correct facts when it comes to requesting a change to your normal work hours/duties. Read your employee policies and find out what the relevant laws in your state are. This isn’t so you can go in ready for an argument, it’s so you can be confident that your requests are reasonable and have the appropriate information to back your requests should they be challenged.

Meet: Arrange a time to meet with your employer. Discussions like this are best held face to face rather than via email or phone so it’s worth putting in the time and effort to go into your workplace for a meeting.

Give plenty of notice: The more notice you can give to your employer of your intentions the better. Technically speaking I only needed to give my employer six weeks notice but as soon as I knew I only wanted to return part time I let them know. This was almost six months before I intended to return to work. This gave us plenty of time to negotiate and figure out suitable solutions to make it work.

Provide solutions: While it may not be your job to do this it can only work in your favour if you go into your meeting with possible options for how part time hours could work in your role. Perhaps job sharing might be an option (and maybe you can suggest a suitable person) or working some hours from home. Your employee really just wants to know that at the end of the day any change will not have a negative impact on their business.

Be organised: Be prepared that the harsh reality of working part time can often mean squeezing a full time job into part time hours. You’ll need to get smarter with your time and be super organised in order to stay on top of everything both at work and at home.

Part time work is a great option for many parents and fortunately it seems that more workplaces are now starting to embrace it. I believe that by approaching your employer openly and honestly you can achieve the outcome you want.

Are you planning on returning work part time or have you successfully negotiated part time hours? Any tips you would add?

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