I'm considering dropping out of the fourty-hour work week for personal reasons. I'd like to look for jobs where I can work thirty hours instead, but most positions are either full-time (fourty hours) or part-time (twenty hours). Is it acceptable to be interviewed for full-time positions and make it a point that I'm looking for thirty hours instead?

How do I argue for a 3-day, 30 hour workweek? asks this problem from an intern's perspective, but I'm a full-time software developer that also wants a thiry-hour week- not necessarily only three days though. Four is fine.

Workplace Effects of Working almost full time is a great question that asks how and what would change when switching from full-time to part-time within the same company. While that might be a choice at my current company, I'd like to keep my options open in case they say no.

  • As for many workplace questions, answers will depend on where you are. Some countries and/or states have overhead costs that kick in for anyone working more than x hours a week. Those overheads can make 4 employees each working 30 hours significantly more expensive than 3 each working 40 hours. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 6 '15 at 9:26
  • Thanks for the input @PatriciaShanahan; my concern was that, if I stated the country, it would make the question too local. However, your argument makes sense and I will edit my question. – IAE Jul 6 '15 at 9:30
  • @JoeStrazzere: Germany; I posted the country in the title but it has been edited and is now found in the tags section. – IAE Jul 6 '15 at 13:17

Is it acceptable to be interviewed for full-time positions and make it a point that I'm looking for thirty hours instead?

If you state that up front in your application, then there is nothing wrong about it. If the company thinks it's an option, they will invite you to an interview, if they think it does not fit with their plans, they won't.

30 hours are rather uncommon and companies tend to hate anything uncommon because it means more work for them. Someone working only 30 hours may be seen as bad for morale, because while salaries are somewhat secret, working hours are not. People rarely get as actively jealous over a number on a paper slip than over a colleague leaving two hours early each day or not comming in on friday. Because that is not some imaginary number in a bank account, but something real they are missing out on.

That said, with strong unions you may want to apply to companies that already have 38.5h or 35h weeks, maybe that's enough. On the other hand, if you really want 30h you may want to look into non-unionized companies, because individual contracts are hard to get once there exist "Tarifverträge".

  • Maybe the op should also consider public service/"öffentlicher Dienst" if money and/or sanity isn't a big requirement for them. I know of several people there that have unusual contracts (10h, 24h, 28h, 32h). – Godzillarissa Jul 6 '15 at 12:12
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    OP says software developer - so most companies hiring for a "40 hour week" will assume that you will be working 60. Saying you only want to work 30hours suggests that you won't be putting in 50% unpaid overtime. – NobodySpecial Jul 6 '15 at 15:27
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    @NobodySpecial While overtime is not uncommon and you are expected to put in 60 hours the one time when it's critical, that seems to happen only on rare occasions in Germany. Like the release of a 2-year-project. Putting in 50h regularly would not even be legal for employees (or their employer). You would need to be a self-employed consultant to do so legally. So 40h does indeed mean 40-45h here. – nvoigt Jul 6 '15 at 15:39
  • @nvoigt - Germany = a civilized country. Here there are explicit laws that exempt anyone working in high tech from all limits on working hours, vacation entitlement or statutory holidays. "crunch time" is when you don't go home for more than 2 nights. – NobodySpecial Jul 8 '15 at 21:34

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