How to get a raise when you negotiate a part-time arrangement
Work fewer hours and get paid more? Sounds like a dream
arrangement! With a keen strategy and skillful negotiation, it can
be a reality.
For this purpose, the term 'raise' reflects a boost in relative
dollars, not absolute dollars. That is, your new, pro-rated salary,
though lower to correspond with fewer hours worked, would
translate into a substantially higher hourly rate.
As an example, in my own experience years ago, while working
full-time in a salaried position, I proposed a four-day workweek
and requested my compensation not be cut at all. It was
But, within the same hour of negotiations, I instead suggested a
5% reduction in pay to go along with my request for a 20%
reduction in hours worked per week.
It was inexplicably accepted with little hesitation, employee
benefits intact besides.
I was thrilled! When figured on an hourly basis, this was
essentially a double-digit raise. That, along with the 'extra'
weekday off, really kicked my job satisfaction up several
I've had acquaintances and some Flex Success users negotiate
Sound like a gutsy move? It is. But, think about whether you can
pull it off. How well it might go depends on:
Timing - Can you time your negotiation with your regularly
scheduled performance review and merit raise? Or, after
successfully completing a major project with which your boss is
Your perceived value - Is there a shortage of candidates in your
job category and/or do you offer a unique combination of skills
and experience that strengthens your negotiating leverage? I had
both these factors going for me in my situation.
Which work responsibilities you will retain - A four day
workweek allows for better retention of your key responsibilities
over a three day workweek, and will likely allow you to ask for
more of what you want.
The quality of your relationship with your boss - A supportive
and appreciative boss is a key factor. In my case, while my
immediate boss was supportive, the real decision-maker with
whom I had to negotiate had a condescending and combative
management style. Yet, I was able to swing the deal. So
remember, anything is possible!
A good scenario: If you have been at your job for more than three
years with the same boss with whom there is a high degree of
mutual respect and good communication, plus formal
(performance reviews, raises) and informal acknowledgment of
your high-level responsibilities and achievements, you have a
favorable environment for proposing a four day workweek with less
than a 20% salary cut.
Especially if you are the only one in your job category and if you
restructure your job to continue to maintain key responsibilities.
While I recognize the limitations imposed on civil service workers
and union members in striking such a deal, for others, the
opportunity is ripe for creative salary negotiations.
As the diet ads say, "Individual results may vary." Evaluate the
risks/payoff equation for yourself. Do a reality check with trusted
friends about your prospects of successfully crafting this
compensation coup. The payoff is worth it!
Note to Flex Success users: Remember, you can request a
complimentary coaching session to help you assess your
situation or to aid you in making your request.
Pat Katepoo is founder of WorkOptions.com and the developer of the electronic workbook, Flex Success: A Proposal Blueprint &
Planning Guide for Getting a Family-Friendly Work Schedule.