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How to Request Part-Time Employment

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Requesting a move from a full-time job to a part-time position can be a daunting experience. You might be concerned that your boss will think you're not serious about your career, or that you'll be let go from your job altogether. To convince your boss that this is a good idea, craft your request in a well-thought-out, professional manner as you make the transition that feels right for you.

Make a Plan

Go through your current job responsibilities and write a proposal for how your position could be split into two part-time roles, or reduced in such a way that you can cover key aspects in a part-time capacity. If you have a colleague who's interested in a job-sharing situation, address this in your proposal. Presenting your request along with potential suggestions will make him more receptive to the idea. Anticipate objections he might have and prepare responses that help you validate your point.

Talk to Your Boss

Arrange a time to sit down with your boss in private and make your request. Explain the reason you want to move from full-time to part-time hours. Perhaps you're raising a family, going to school or looking for more personal time. Emphasize your commitment to your career and to the company, and tell your boss you don't want to leave, just cut back. Prepare for how you'll respond if your boss rejects your request on the spot. You may choose to close the matter and stay in the full-time role, or give your notice and resign so you can look for a job with more appealing hours.

Consider Your Options

If your boss doesn’t say no but is hesitant about a move to part-time work, think about other positions in your company you’d be qualified for and that would allow you to work reduced hours. You might be able to transition into another role rather than leave the company. Be open, flexible and willing to negotiate the terms and conditions of your proposed career move.

Think it Through

Moving from a full-time to part-time position is a major change that requires significant consideration. You’ll see a decrease in your salary, and you could potentially lose benefits, retirement plan contributions and profit-sharing, which often accompany full-time positions. You could also lose your place on the corporate ladder, making it difficult to move up in your profession if that's something you're interested in. Weigh the pros and cons of moving to part-time work before talking to your boss. You might find other options -- such as telecommuting or working a flexible schedule -- more appealing.


Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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