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3 min read

How to change your working hours

So you’ve decided to take on a part time job. You’ve agreed to a set amount of hours with your new boss, signed the contract, you enjoy the work and it’s all going smoothly.

So how should you go about changing your hours in a part-time job? Read our guide to find out how to change your working pattern without upsetting your boss.

Unforeseen circumstances can change what you need from your job. An increased workload from elsewhere, wanting a better work/life balance or illness can make you want to work less, while a new addition to the family, loss of a second job or a complete lack of cash can force you into needing more hours.

Don’t be scared

It can be daunting when you already work flexible hours to ask for the contract to be changed again, but it’s your legal right to request it.

Remember, just because you’re part-time doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to the same rights as full-time staff. If you’ve worked for the company for at least 26 weeks you’re allowed to ask for different hours.

It’s good to talk

Changing your hours is all about communicating. If your boss doesn’t know you’re unhappy, they aren’t going to be polite and understanding if you just keep asking for different hours on every rota at short notice for no reason.

Look at the long-term situation and set up a meeting with your boss or manager and explain you’re looking for a change in hours. You don’t necessarily need to explain why but it might be helpful to tell them whether you need different hours for a short period or indefinitely.

If you’re happy to tell them your reasons, they may be understanding, especially if you’ve been a good employee, and may suggest a change in working hours before you even ask. Remember, bosses aren’t ogres and it’s in their best interest to accommodate your needs so you aren’t forced to go elsewhere.

Colleague swap

While you may not want everyone to know why you’d like different hours, it’s worth letting your workmates know that you’re looking for a change. You might find someone in the company wants your working hours instead of their own, and then it’s just a simple swap.

Obviously this won’t work for all part-time jobs, but for hospitality jobsretail and anything that relies heavily on a shift pattern, it’s a fairly standard situation that employers are used to.

Prepare to compromise

You don’t always get what you want, but your employer may be happy to negotiate your request.

If you want a trial period of your requested hours (or something similar to them) to show the boss it can work, set out what they expect you to achieve and their expectations. Agree on a review date to measure the effectiveness and evaluate together whether it could work on a more permanent basis.

Whatever you do, don’t get mad at your boss if you don’t get what you were initially asking for. Throwing a tantrum isn’t going to change your bosses mind, and you might end up being forced out the building by two burly security men.

If your work environment and circumstance suits it, why not suggest that you work some hours from home instead?

If they say no…

If the company completely turns your request and every alternative idea down, they need to give you valid justification for that decision. So if you don’t feel their reasoning is good enough and if it doesn’t follow set procedures, you can always try and take it to an employment tribunal.

If all else fails and your boss won’t budge, it may sadly be time to look for a new job.