How To Ask Your Employer to Work Part-Time

How To Ask Your Employer to Work Part-Time

Do you want to change your work schedule from full-time to part-time? What’s the best way to ask your employer for a schedule change? Working full-time when you have too many other priorities to juggle can be a challenge. Many of us, if we can afford it, would prefer to work part-time for a variety of reasons. 

Perhaps you want to spend more time with your children, care for a loved one, start a business, pursue a passion, or simply reduce your stress. If you can afford the pay cut and the possible impact on employee benefits, cutting back your hours at work can free up some of your valuable time and make your life more manageable.

Prepare Your Request for a Change

It’s not always what you say that matters—it’s how you say it. Approaching your employer in the right way can enhance your chances of success. It’s important to keep it positive and be flexible when you’re asking for a change.

What works for you might not be best for the company. So be prepared to explain, make your case for the change, and offer solutions so it’s a win-win situation.

Before you talk to your employer about reducing your hours, take the time to do the following:

  • Think through the logistics of your transition before meeting with your supervisor to discuss it.
  • Decide what would be your optimal work schedule, and what other options would make sense if you need to be flexible.
  • Evaluate your workload, think about the tasks you’re currently responsible for, and consider whether or not they can be delegated to other employees.
  • Anticipate problems and questions they may have about your proposal, and come up with practical solutions. 
  • Be prepared to make the case for how your workplace will work, with you spending less time in it.


Note: It’s important to keep the focus on your continued contributions to the company and not on your absence.

Tips for Asking Your Employer to Work Part-Time

Review these tips for asking your boss about working part-time instead of full-time, with examples of what to say and sample email messages requesting a schedule change.

Be sure you’re a star performer.

Make sure your recent performance is stellar before making any request. Employees who have clearly established their worth through solid productivity and a positive attitude are more likely to be accommodated.

Carefully plan when to ask.

Select a time to make your request when your supervisor is relatively unstressed. If your boss is under pressure to meet new demands, for example, they might be concerned by any potential reduction in staffing.

Schedule a meeting.

If you’re asking in person, once you’ve assessed your workload and decided that part-time is the best course of action for you, schedule a meeting with your manager. Be honest and transparent about why you’re requesting the change. Have a plan ready to share on how your work will be managed if your schedule was to change.

Be clear about why you want a change.

Present a strong rationale for why you would like a transition to part-time and clarify that you are very motivated to move forward with this change.

Show you love your job.

Make it clear that this request does not represent a diminished interest in your work. Reassure your boss that you will maintain a very high level of investment in your team during your working hours.

Assure your boss the basics will be covered.

Analyze your current position and identify the most crucial aspects of your role. When making your proposal, reassure your boss that you will continue to deliver results in those areas. Be ready to explain how you will cover those responsibilities while working part-time instead of full-time.

Explain what could be handed off to someone else.

Itemize less critical components of your role that others could easily handle and reference any suggestions for handing over those responsibilities.

Be prepared to negotiate.

Your employer’s immediate reaction might be to say no. Be prepared to discuss their concerns and think of creative ways to make them more comfortable.

So if you get an initial no, you might say, “I understand that this could be a difficult transition for our unit, can we discuss your concerns?” or “I have anticipated some possible issues, and here is how we might deal with them.”

Can you compromise?

Know your bottom line and be prepared to compromise if it’s feasible. For example, you might want to reduce your hours significantly. If you have exhausted all means of persuading your employer, could you consider a smaller reduction to half-time or 3/4 time?

Juggle your schedule.

If your department experiences periods of peak demand, consider a proposal that would have you invest more hours during times of high need and fewer hours during off-peak times.

For example, you might suggest that you continue working full-time during the six weeks before preparing the annual report but working part-time during the summer when it is traditionally slow.

Consider other options.

As a fallback plan, consider alternatives that might meet your needs but minimize the adjustment for your employer.

For example, could you come in early and leave early so you would be home when your daughter gets home from school? You could leave early but make up the time by working from home during the evening. A flexible schedule may be another solution to consider.

Be careful how you ask.

You don’t want to jeopardize your current job because you’re asking for a change. Be flexible, and don’t issue or imply an ultimatum to your employer unless you are ready to back it up. It’s always better to ask about options and offer flexibility when requesting a schedule change.

Show your appreciation. 

Finally, remember to thank your boss for their time and consideration. Showing appreciation after they’ve taken the time to consider your request can help ensure a positive outcome.

Follow up on your request.

Once you have sent your message or had a conversation with your boss, politely follow up if there is no response. Remind them of your request and ask if they have any further questions or need more information from you to make the decision.

How To Send an Email Request

It can be easier to ask about changing your schedule in an email than in person or on a call. It lets you explain your request and how your new schedule will work.

Putting the request in writing also gives your manager an opportunity to consider the request without being put on the spot and having to give you an answer right away.

Part-Time Schedule Request Email Example

Here’s an example of an email requesting a schedule change:

Subject: Request for Part-Time Work Schedule

Dear [Manager’s Name],

I would like to discuss a potential adjustment to my work schedule that could benefit both the company and myself.

I’ve been evaluating my work-life balance and personal commitments, and if it’s feasible, transitioning to a part-time work schedule might be the best option for me. This adjustment would allow me to continue contributing effectively to the team while also providing me with the flexibility I need to better manage my personal responsibilities.

I want to assure you of my commitment to the company’s success, and I am fully dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition if this request is approved. I have a plan to ensure that my responsibilities are covered during the hours I won’t be available and that there is minimal disruption to our team’s workflow.

To outline my proposal, I suggest that I work [number of hours] hours per week, equating to [number of days] days per week. I have thought through the potential impact on my current projects and team dynamics and believe this schedule will still allow me to meet my key deliverables and contribute effectively to our goals.

I understand that this request may require some adjustments and considerations. I am more than willing to discuss the details further, address any concerns you may have, and work together to ensure a smooth transition if this request is approved. I am committed to ensuring that my work quality remains high and that my responsibilities are managed responsibly.

I value your input and guidance and appreciate you considering my request. I look forward to discussing this further with you.


[Your Name]


Follow Up Email Example

Dear [Manager’s Name],

I am following up on our conversation about transitioning to a part-time schedule. As I mentioned, this change will enable me to better balance my personal life without compromising my work performance.

I understand that this change may create challenges for the team, and I’m more than willing to be flexible to find a solution that works for everyone. I would be glad to start with a part-time schedule for a trial period and reassess later on.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


[Your Name]


The Bottom Line

When you ask to change your schedule from full-time to part-time, assess your workload, schedule a meeting with your boss or send an email request, and follow up with a professional email if necessary.

Stay positive and professional throughout the process, and be open to the possibility that your request may take time to be approved. Be flexible, and consider creative options for balancing work and other responsibilities.

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  • September 8, 2023