My current job lets me work 3 days a week and I've done so for 12 years. I started it to volunteer but now I have issues with fatigue so I've stayed specifically at this company because of that perk. I'm thankfully not so unwell that I can't work at all and I manage ok.

Long story short, I have decided to quit. I have 2 written offers and for both jobs I've casually tried to ascertain from both the potential manager and the recruiter about a reduced work schedule, "wondering if they do that".

One manager, from company A said he doesn't care how much you work, just finish your work.

Company B's manager said it wasn't something they do, they have flexibility on your start and end times but that's pretty much it. However, during one of the interview rounds at company B, one of the interviewers was listing all the perks of working there and said in "some cases we've even let people work part time". I hadn't asked her about that so it seems that it is possible and the first person I asked just doesn't know about it. The other wrench is that I am not sure who my manager will be at company B because they're restructuring.

Not having any accommodations is not a deal breaker right now, because I'm determined to leave my current job. It's a big mess in my department and I have been prevented from transferring internally because of "business needs".

I'm ready to start working full time just to get out. So, my question is, I know I can do it for a while but I'm hoping that if starts to be too much to handle I can work something out afterwards. Is that a bad plan?

Any suggestions? In negotiating the other terms of the offer, can I bring this up again and be more specific so I can get an accommodation up front? Like,

I asked before about reduced work and I'm asking again specifically because I have some health issues that require me to do xxx and I'm wondering if there are any accommodations for that? Can I get N sick days or wellness days? None of the contracts have sick days built in, just vacation.

  • What is "a while" in terms of how long you realistically expect to be able to handle full-time hours without accommodation? If that's a couple years, that's a very different situation than if that's a month or two. Mar 2, 2022 at 15:19

1 Answer 1

  1. Read up on rules and regulations for health related accommodations in your country. This vary greatly across the world so your options will depend heavily on where you are.
  2. In many countries employers are required, encouraged and/or subsidized to make health related accommodations. These typically requires an official evaluation, i.e. a doctor needs to certify your medical condition and specify what you can and cannot do and what accommodations are required.
  3. It's best to inject this into the interview process early. You can bring it up later or after you started, but this can break a lot of good will and is not a great start to a new step in your career. Yes, this will likely result in more rejections, but chances are you wouldn't be happy there anyway. If you are open upfront and you get a yes, life will be good.
  4. Make up your mind how important this is to you and communicate this clearly it makes life easier for everyone. I If you can only do 3 days/week and the job requires 5 than it's not going to work and so it's better to kill it early in the process

A said he doesn't care how much you work, just finish your work.

Translation: that's a "no"

Is that a bad plan?

Probably yes. Conversion from full time to part time is dicey and often doesn't work. It's much preferably to find a part time job from the get go.

  • I disagree with your statement. My employer, in the US, offers part-time for a lot of people. The program is pretty successful, and I plan to use in the future. Perhaps a caution is warranted instead.
    – Pete B.
    Mar 2, 2022 at 16:12
  • It has worked for me, I have been part time for more than a decade and there are others in my company I who have been doing it for 20+ years so I think it depends on the company and your management. I do agree with being up front at first but this time I didn't insist on it because it wasn't a deal breaker.
    – wrmcld
    Mar 2, 2022 at 16:46
  • 2
    A lot of companies assume they'll be recruiting full time staff, so I think Pete B's employer is regrettably unusual. You might have more luck in the public sector or checking websites for companies with progressive employment policies. Otherwise, it seems far more common for people to start full-time and later go part-time after having children, needing more time to care for dependents, etc, than to be hired: if there are a lot of applicants most companies still think "we want someone who's 100% committed", but hopefully that attitude is changing.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 3, 2022 at 11:23

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