How to discuss part time work with your employer before going self-employed

Written by RAC Editor
Last updated March 9, 2021

There are many reasons to go from full to part-time working

Changing from full-time to part-time work might seem a challenging experience. While it might offer more freedom and control over your life, there are also some unpredictable things to consider.

There are many reasons why people choose to switch from full-time employment to part-time jobs:

  • More control over working hours – part-time work can enable you to choose and control the number of hours you work. Part-time work is often assigned on a period that’s flexibly agreed upon between you and your employer. This can allow you to pursue other interests and commitments you might have, such as leisure, family or education.
  • Opportunity to have multiple jobs – working part-time allows you to seek multiple employment. For instance, people might want to work or volunteer in a different organisation. Workplaces are increasingly offering part-time roles, which makes it easier to find available opportunities.
  • Chance to earn additional income – people might want to make use of their spare time to take on additional jobs and earn extra income.
  • Opportunity to change career – people might consider a career change and opt to try something new on a part-time basis to give it a go. Part-time work can be a fantastic way to develop new skills and explore new industries.

How to ask your employer about working part-time

As an employee, you might have concerns about asking your employer to go from full-time to part-time employment. For this reason, we have put together a list of useful tips that will help you prepare to have a conversation with your employer about working part-time.

Focusing on Company Policies and Procedures

When planning to talk to your employer about working part-time, it is vital to keep the company’s needs in mind. You will need to consider how the company can benefit from you working fewer hours, as well as checking the company’s policies in relation to flexible work.

Researching and navigating the company’s website can help you learn more about its culture around part-time working. Therefore, you can prepare for the conversation accordingly.

Another fantastic way to get advice is getting in touch with colleagues who already work part-time, especially if they switched from full-time employment. They might be able to help you prepare for your meeting.

Preparing for your meeting

It is essential to prepare for your meeting beforehand and make a list of things you might want to discuss. You could put down your ideas, plans and suggestions on a written proposal. Here are some examples of things you should include:

  • Number of days and hours – it is important to effectively communicate with your employer about the working schedule you are pursuing. It could be a good idea to consider where you are willing to compromise if one option is preferable to your employer.
  • Availability – you could think of an action plan for when important meetings or other urgent matters occur while you are not at work. This way, you will show your commitment to work out something that’s best for the company.
  • Projects – preparing a plan with ideas and suggestions of how your reduced role could work is crucial. You could consider which of your full-time colleagues might be able to carry out some of your workloads, or potentially suggest a new team structure for your department.

Suggesting a trial

A trial period can be beneficial to both employers and employees. Your new working schedule might not feel it is enough for you, or you may find that you need new arrangements with regard to being contacted during time off. A trial period will enable you and your employer to assess the situation at multiple stages through check-in meetings.

Alternatively, you might suggest reducing your working hours gradually. For instance, if you intend to drop your schedule from 40 to 20 hours a week, you could agree on initially moving down to 30 hours.

Briefly explaining why you would like a meeting

It is vital to inform your manager about why you would like to schedule a meeting with them. Being surprised with a big request might lead to a negative outcome. Prepare your employer in advance so that you could have a more thoughtful conversation. When giving your employer a heads-up, you can briefly share details for your meeting. For instance, you can say that you would like to discuss your future schedule at the company.

There are a number of different kinds of flexible work, with differing levels of flexibility. Often, there is still a strictly held structure and agreement between the employer and the employee in regards to when and how flexibility the role is. You can visit the dedicated page on our website to learn more.

What is a part time letter of request?2021-03-08T14:01:16+00:00

A part time letter of request is a written letter that employees can use in the workplace to formally ask their employers for a part-time working pattern. Part time letters of requests can include:

  • Desired working hours and schedules
  • Explanation of how the work could be managed around your changed working hours
  • Emphasis on your continued commitment to the company
  • Suggestions of ways you could be providing extra working hours on special occasions and emergencies.
  • Details of reasons why you are requesting part-time work.
Can my employer fire me for starting a rival business?2021-03-08T14:00:14+00:00

Under the Fraud Act 2006, if you start a rival business whilst still an employee, your employer can dismiss you for gross misconduct and make further civil claims, such as:

  • Breach of contract – your employer might prevent you from working for, or starting, a rival business that might cause loss to their business for a limited period.
  • Breach of mutual trust and confidence.
  • Breach of duty of good faith.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty (for instance, in the role of director or senior management) – you are obliged to account for all profits as a result of the breach of duty.
Last Updated: Monday March 8 2021
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