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How to Write a Letter Requesting Part-Time Hours

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If you decide a full workload is more than you're looking for, a detailed written proposal to your employer can help you navigate your way to a part-time schedule. Take into consideration the responsibilities you currently handle and how your existing workload can be redistributed as you move to fewer hours. You can write it as a formal business letter or use a memo format.

Address the Appropriate Person

Address the letter to your immediate supervisor. Even if the decision will ultimately be made by someone higher up on the chain of command, launch your request by going through the appropriate channels.

State Your Request

State your request for reduced hours. Be specific by listing the days and hours you want to work each week. If you're flexible, just note the total number of hours you want to work each week. Also, let your supervisor know if you envision this being a permanent schedule or temporary one. If you intend to return to a full-time schedule in the future, indicate when you plan to do so.

State the Benefits

If there are benefits to your employer for reducing your hours, state these before your personal reasons for asking for the request. For example, if your employer is considering layoffs, reducing your hours could save someone's job. If another employee has expressed an interest in job-sharing, this could keep two employees happy, while opening a new position for someone else. If you have often been late for work, reducing your hours to a more manageable schedule might be welcome news to your manager.

Explain Your Reasons

If you're comfortable sharing with your employer, explain the reason for your request. If you’re going back to school, want to have more quality family time or have other personal matters that require the change, tell your boss if you think it will help you make your case for reduced hours. Some bosses might require an explanation to accommodate a part-time schedule.

Explain How the Work Can Be Divided

Describe the aspects of your job you want to retain and what responsibilities would be left to someone else. If you're proposing job-sharing or redistributing the responsibilities of a full-time position, describe how you envision your reduced hours impacting the office and propose alternatives or solutions, if you have any. Let your boss know you will do your best to ensure the transition to fewer hours goes smoothly.

Tip

If you have a good relationship with your boss, talk to him in person and use the letter as a formal request for documentation purposes. This gives you more time discuss your responsibilities under a part-time schedule, how the company can make up for the hours you won't be working, and what you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible. Leave the official letter with your boss so he can review your proposal and mull over the possibilities.

Talk to your human resources department about how a change in hours could impact your pay and benefits. If you’re currently a salaried employee, going to a part-time schedule might mean a transition to an hourly pay rate. It also could eliminate things like healthcare coverage and retirement planning. Know in advance what ramifications your move could have.

Warning

If you work an hourly job in a company that has part-time employees already, your proposal probably won't have a serious impact on your employer. If you hold a high-ranking management position or are responsible for multiple operational aspects of the business, your boss might have a tougher time envisioning you in anything less than a full-time role. If reducing your hours is not possible, inquire about the potential of working as a consultant or independent contractor.

About the Author

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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