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Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from crackersandcheese. Show crackersandcheese's posts

    Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    Looking for some advice on requesting to return to work part-time after my second child is due this spring. Does anyone have any experience either requesting this or from a HR perspective?

    My plan is to put together a written proposal to return to work 4 days a week after my maternity leave. I would ideally like Fridays off as Friday is by far the slowest day in the office, but I am flexible. I am also completely willing to be available by phone and email on my day off. I am open to a reduction in salary, but I am not sure if this is something I should bring up in the proposal or if I should wait until it is presented to me. My title is manager but I do not have any direct reports and am in more of an independent role that I feel a part-time schedule will work for.

    I would like to settle this before I go out on maternity leave so I can appropriately arrange child care. Any suggestions on timing? Should this be done a month before I go out? Two months?

    Any advice is much appreciated.

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from stefani2. Show stefani2's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    what type of industry and/or what company - e.g. do you work for a mega-company like a fidelity or a small and/or family-run company?

    i'd ask HR what the best course of action would be.  and i would do it sooner rather than later, that's always better so the company can plan.  (unless you are worried they will think differently of you once they know you want to go part-time?)

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from crackersandcheese. Show crackersandcheese's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    Thanks Stefani. I work for a large company. I'd like to talk to my boss before I talk to HR because I'd hate for him to hear from anyone other than me of my request. Does HR have to keep any discussions confidential?

    I do know of some women who have returned to work part-time (but not well enough to talk to them) so it's doable from a HR perspective. I think it's dependent on manager approval and obviously if he thinks I can do my job in 4 days vs. 5 (which I plan to address in my proposal). And yes, my fear is if I ask too soon and my request is not approved that they will think I've checked out or am not fully committed to my role.

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    One suggestion is to propose a trial period of 3 or 6 months, so that both you and your boss can check in on how it's working.  It shows that you're serious about your job, as well as your family.

    To that end: I know someone who did 4 10 hour days to get the 5th day off, and it absolutely wore her out.  She was glad to have a time/place to talk about it, and ended up staying with 4 days but taking a salary reduction and going down to 32 hours. 

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    I strongly recommend that you do not propose anything to your boss until you actually return  to work from maternity leave. A lot can change between now and then. You do not want to box yourself into a situation that may work wonderfully in your head now, but not work at all in practice once you are at that location in time. 


    Put off any discussion with you boss until after you have the baby and return from leave.  Never offer to reduce your salary or any other benefits until you are informed in no uncertain terms that you have an either/or decision to make {ie, either you take X  reduction/change or you are not getting what you are asking for} and you personally determine that the sacrifice is worth it to get what you want.  Do not needlessly offer to take less when they may be perfectly willing to work with you to help you achieve what you are asking for without much compromise. 

    If you put off the discussion until you return and can address the actualities of the situation [instead of the theoreticals perhapses of the situation] you will be in much stronger bargaining position. You will have returned - thus proving to them your strong committment to the job -and they will be more mentally prepared to work with you. You may think  you will have more peace of mind if you can "cross this off your list now" but you are setting yourself up for unnecessary angst and trouble if whatever you negotiate now does not serve your actual needs down the road after you have the baby.  GL.


    HR does not have to keep conversations about this confidential.  HR is management - people often forget this. Get a copy of whatever employee handbook your company has. They may have alternative work schedules as an option already that would let you work a 10/4 or 5/4/9 schedule and therefore what you are asking would already be possible. You would still be working FT w/ a 10/4 schedule (40 hours) but only working 4 days per week.    

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    I have to agree strongly with ALF's saying to wait until after you return from leave.  It might seem like the "nice" thing to do to give them a bunch of notice and time to figure it all out, but you don't owe them that, and before you get there you can only assume what you'll want to do at that time...and we know how decisions based on assumptions often turn out.

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    As you get closer to your leave is when I would open up the discussion about reduced hours upon your return. But I'd wait until about a month out. And I would talk to your manager prior to HR, but don't get your hopes up that HR will agree with what your manager agrees with. I know a woman who worked our her return, and HR denied it for no particular reason.

    I would NEVER offer up reduced salary-especially if you think you can complete all the tasks in 4 days instead of 5. You're just giving your work away then. If it comes down to them saying reduced pay, then reduce time AND duties. Also think about how it would impact your benefits. When I went to a part time schedule while on FMLA my insurance doubled! I do not get STD, so I had to use my leave to cover my benefits, sick/vaca time, so my biweekly insurance premiums doubled-so instead of $200 a pay period for our health insurance I was paying $400. No one in HR  warned me about that beforehand. Also make sure you know how doing a reduced schedule would impact leave/sick time/401k/seniority etc.

  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from memes98. Show memes98's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    Crackers - I did this with my first pregnancy.  I requested 4 days per week at 30 hours, and it was granted.  I do get paid a reduced salary to reflect my reduced number of hours. 

    However, I made this request to my manager during my maternity leave.  It was probably about one month into my maternity leave, and I was back visiting my office to let everyone meet the baby and also complete my performance review.  So, I requested this in-person with my manager, and I did also write up a written request.  I was very nervous about asking, but my manager responded very positively and was completely open to the change in schedule.  I decided to wait until I was on my maternity leave to make the request so that it wouldn't affect my leave at all.

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    ALFs an attorney, please listen to her.

    If you ask for leave before going out on leave, they have at least 8 weeks to find your replacement, try out your replacement - or decide they can do without you. 

    Wait until you come back.

  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from thistleflower. Show thistleflower's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    If you believe this is what you want, I wouldn't wait until you're back to set it up.  If the answer will affect your childcare decisions, then you need to know before you have to make the decisions.  Also, I went back on an 80% schedule, and the first couple of months were the most important in terms of helping the baby transition to daycare.  That doesn't necessarily mean asking immediately, but there might be an advantage to talking it over before you go out on leave--that way you can speak to your boss in person.  Plus, I think having a calm discussion well in advance is preferable--that way it doesn't seem like you're having doubts about coming back to work or (if you're already back) like you're feeling unable to manage in the workplace.  I would talk to your boss, then to HR.  I do think it could make sense to suggest doing it on a trial basis--that would give everyone something of a safety net, so if they have concerns they can see how it plays out in practice before agreeing to a permanent arrangement.  (I'm also an employment attorney, but the truth is, what you're asking about isn't a strictly legal question--it's really about managing your relationships.)    

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    I agree with's about the relationships you have with your company and your boss.  You know your company culture better than we do!  

    When I had my first DD, I actually came back at 10 weeks so I could work shorter weeks for the next four, using the FMLA time.  I loved being able to transition back that way!  That could, at the very least, be the start of your conversation, to test the water? 

    I realize work is work, but I know for me, in my office culture (super small, there are only 7 of us, and there were no temps or anything while I was on leave), the more advance conversation, the better.  I think you have to be conscious of what your position is, what your relationship with your boss is, what the precedents for reduced schedule or flex time are, all of that. 

    And no matter when the conversation takes place, I just want to reinforce suggesting a 3 or 6 month trial period.  You never know what might happen in your life in the interim, either at home or work, and it's so nice to have that conversation built in to the process, so you can renegotiate and talk about how it's going, both for you and for your colleagues. 


  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    What you are asking about is not a legal question at all.  It's a question of practicality and probabilities. In today's economy and not being able to see  the future regarding what you will actually need vice what you think you will need, I still suggest that making hard decisions now, before the child is here and you know what you actually DO need in terms of flexibilty is not a wise idea.  Heaven forbid your DH loses his job or there is any other issue that pops up that was unforseen.  If you've boxed yourself into a situation where you reduce your hours to PT or less than FT, and reduce your benefits as well, and then something changes, you may find it hard to renegotiate to get back what you've given up.  If you feel safe broaching the topic now, and feel that if you don't you are going to be generating 'bad blood' w/ your manager or co-workers, start a discussion.  But finalizing any agreement, particularly one where you have given up something that you may not ever get back, before you you know what you actually need rather than what you think you need, is just a bad idea.  HTH.

  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from crackersandcheese. Show crackersandcheese's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    Thanks so much to everyone who has responded. It looks like there are a lot of different opinions out there and it has definitely given me a lot to think about. I'd love to have this settled before I go on leave so I can get child care straightened out and not be thinking/nervous about it my entire leave, but I'll be sending the baby to the home daycare my son is at and I know if I told her the kids will be coming on Fridays initially with the intent of eventually being home with them that day she would be fine with it. But I do see the benefit in waiting until I am back from leave or going in at some point when I am on leave to propose it. So at this point I don't know what I am going to do. Luckily I do still have some time to think about it. I'll let you know how I make out when the time comes.

  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from princess-cal. Show princess-cal's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    Hope you dont' mind me putting my 2 cents in.  I don't have kids, but can give a perspective from (at least) my work environment.  I would suggest not bringing it up until you get back.  That way you can show that you are still committed to your job, etc.

    Also, if/when you do your proposal, if you are willing to do emails/conf calls on your "day off," don't offer them up right away that you'd take a pay cut.  You run the risk of them taking advantage of that and I could see it being overwhelming to be trying to work and tending to your little one at the same time.

    I know it must be stressful and you'd want to get all your ducks in a row as soon as possible, but I think it may be best to hold off.  Either way, congratulations!

  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from crackersandcheese. Show crackersandcheese's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    Thanks princess-cal - I appreciate it! I think my intent would be to be available by cell phone if necessary for emergencies, pressing issues, etc. and to check email periodically throughout the day. I would block my calendar off for conference calls though because that would definitely be too difficult with the two kiddos. After my son was born I was able to work from home on Fridays (prior employer, my manager knew he was home with me) but it got too stressful for me once he was moving around, required more interaction, and was napping less. I'd like the freedom to go to the park or run errands without feeling attached to my laptop which is why I'm hoping to just have the day off vs trying to work remotely. One plus is that my husband only works until noon on Fridays so he is around to help out if I need him.

    Also, I will be including a three month trial period in the proposal. I did this when I proposed working from home one day a week at my prior company and my manager really appreciated it.

  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from Liv22. Show Liv22's posts

    Re: Requesting to Return to Work Part-Time

    I work 4 days in the office but still have all my responsibilities. That means focusing those 4 days (regular 8 hr days) and becoming more efficient (which for me means - less time perusing the internet and chatting with co-workers), working some nights and  weekends at home. My boss doesn't care when it gets done, just that it gets done. My boss also said that going part time means a 20% cut in salary, benefits, PTO but not a 20% cut in my work load. I am lucky to work in a flexible, supportive environment so I am not sure if that would work for your job. Definitely go in with a game plan and have all your answers ready, but see where the conversation goes and don't offer anything up front. Best of luck! I hope it works out for you.

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