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A four day week?

(23 Posts)
reluctantmpvdriver Tue 30-Jun-09 23:31:53

I am sure that this has been discussed on this site before so forgive me but I am due to go back to work in November and need some help on what to do.

I have been thinking of doing 4 days per week but am aware that I am bound to end up doing more hours and being paid for less. I am sure that this will be maddening but will that irritation be outweighed by being able to shut the door on the office three days a week ? Does anyone have experience of a 4 days week that they can share? If I do this - what is the best day to take off. If I take Monday off does that mean that I lose the benefit of bank holidays?


mumblecrumble Wed 01-Jul-09 00:00:39

I work 3 dyas a week and personally I find it easier to have 2 dyas off then work then have a day off type thing [am teacher so not flexible]. This is great as I have a proper weekend and a weekday where I do house jobs etc.

rookiemater Wed 01-Jul-09 20:58:32

Hi, I do 4 days a week and have Monday off.

I don't lose out on Bank Holidays as I have them proratad and added to my entitlement, always seems as if I have more holidays than everyone else ! It's actually nice to be in on Friday, because its more relaxed and sometimes the boss lets us go home early smile

Upside of 4 days as opposed to 3 is that you are seen as being practically full time and therefore treated as one of the team and involved in most things as its reasonably practicable to work meetings and things around 1 day off.

Downsides to 4 days a week are that realistically you get a full time work load and your choice is a) to do it as well as you can in the time you have which means you are never going to get stellar reviews or b) try to do everything properly which will lead to tears in the long run.

I would say give it a go. Most companies are more than happy to put people back to full time,whereas you are in a strong position to request flexible working as you are going back after mat leave. You can always change if you think it isn't working.

clemette Wed 01-Jul-09 21:02:50

I work 4 days (as a teacher) and I really like the arrangement. I have Mondays off. Work have been very good and have delegated 20% of my management responsibilities and 20% of my teaching load to other people so I don't have to worry about doing that bit of the job too. In reality I probably do more than 80% of my old job but having the day off the children with is worth it. I have also found that my salary hasn't decreased by 20% because it was that bit that was pushing me into a higher tax bracket.

jabberwocky Wed 01-Jul-09 21:07:46

I do 4 days and I really like it. On the few times that I end up doing 5 I feel extremely over-burdened blush

rookiemater Wed 01-Jul-09 21:55:39

Oh yes I'm the same about the tax thing too clemette. It is really nice that 80% work doesn't equal 80% take home pay !

I don't think I could ever go back to 5 days a week, have put in an app for 3 days but the timing isn't right apparently sad

risingstar Thu 02-Jul-09 19:15:28

I do 4 days, have wednesdays off which is lovely, never more than 2 days in work at a time. used to have mondays but found that i did lose bank hols and would come into chaos on Tuesday.

As full time is 35 hrs a week, my loss of pay is not much because i do 30 hours over those 4 days. Yes,i still have the same job, but by cutting down on gossiping and lunchtimes i get it all done and my Wednesday is my reward.

reluctantmpvdriver Thu 02-Jul-09 23:10:27

Thanks for all these responses! What did you mean Rookiemater - about pro rataing the bank holidays? Does it mean that you get given 4/5 of the bank holiday back so that you take it another time?

I like the idea of 30 hours Rising Star as the loss of salary is then only 10% - how do you fit the hours into 4 days however? I thought that legally employers had to give a miniumum of one hour for lunch (unpaid) over a full day and 1/2 hour over a shorter day - so you can't really work over lunch.

I have been thinking also of the option of spreading the 4 days over 5 so that I could pick up the kids most days from school. I think that that would benefit my kids the most. Does anyone do that? Is it stressful to go from work to Kids every day? What are the benefits?

cat64 Thu 02-Jul-09 23:28:46

Message withdrawn

Clary Thu 02-Jul-09 23:30:03

I work 4 days.

Yes at our office if you are off Monday you lose B Hols - they are not obliged to give you a pro rata deal (ie 4/5 of the hols as lieu days) tho some bosses will.

I have Friday off because historically it was a day we did things with the DC pre-school.

It's a nice day as it kickstarts the weekend - also I find a lot of other part-timers are off Friday so we sometimes can get together.

Also it's often a day when stuff needs doing for PTA (setting up school fair etc) so it's useful to be off. Tho I realise for some this woul dbe a reason to be at work grin

BTW I don't work more hours and get paid for less. I am paid for 30 hrs and work 30. If I work extra (eg come in on a weekend now and then) I take it as lieu time. I go in early and stop at 3 most days to pick the kids up. It does make for a long day it's true but I don't mind that.

Bosses and staff too need to wake up to the fact that people want to work fewer hours now; if you work 37 hours you shouldn't do 60 and if you do, frankly more fool you. Well that's my attitude when I see people looking down their noses as I leave on time (tho the look may be my imagination wink

JetLi Fri 03-Jul-09 06:37:09

I'm a 4-day a week person - I take Fridays off. We started it as a trial after I lost a friend to a brain tumour and I took a long look at my life. The trial worked out fine and so I do it permanently. The importance of a good handover to the folks left behind shouldn't be understated, and I'm happy for an occasional phone call on my day off. Maybe someone with proper HR experience would know but I think that 30 hours a week is still sort of classed as full time. I do usually end up working a wee bit more but I'm only talking a couple of hours a week and I take it as lieu time. I do sometimes wonder if I ought to work condensed hours though - so do 37 hours but over 4 days.

reluctantmpvdriver Sat 04-Jul-09 00:22:16

Lot's of things to think about here - are there any HR lawyers out there who might know what the minimum break is that an employer has to give you for lunch. Given that I pretty much always work over lunch in any event I should press them to pay me for it!

rookiemater Sat 04-Jul-09 15:58:29

Hi, if you work over 6.5 hours you are required to have a statutory break of either 20 or 30 mins.

I take a shorter lunch - 30 mins so I can work a shorter day.

MarthaFarquhar Sat 04-Jul-09 16:04:33

IME experience lots of people I know who have gone down to 4days/wk seem to do 5 days work for 4 days money.

I do 3 days and it's a bit more obvious to all that I am part-time.

Compressing your hours by working through lunch only really work if your colleagues all take their full lunch entitlement. If you are in a culture where the expectation seems to be that you take no/short lunches then the employer doesn't see offering to work through lunch as a positive.

StealthPolarBear Sat 04-Jul-09 16:22:38

I did 33 hours in 4 days and struggled. We work flexi time which is lovely but I found it nerve wracking never being able to build any time up, or have a slightly longer than normal lunch as I wouldn't be able to make the time up. The one day off didn't seem to compensate, apart from in the very early days where I struggled with the practicalities of leaving him. Am now back on 5 days, FT, do loads of extra hours (have 2 days flexi built up) but life is much easier.

Kiwinyc Sun 05-Jul-09 19:26:00

I have been on 3 days for the last 2yrs and am starting 4 days next week... I used to work Mon-Weds in the office, now it will be Mon working from home and Tues-Thurs in the office. Friday is still free and i prefer it that way. Some others in the office have Weds off which appeals in some ways.

Because i'm going from 3 days to 4, rather than down from 5 i'm hoping the workload won't increase to have the problem of doing 5 days work in four.

Dysgu Mon 06-Jul-09 00:29:49

I am going back to work (teaching) in September and will be finishing twice a week at 12.15pm when morning lessons finish.

I am hoping it all works out all right and my classes have decreased accordingly. As I teach in a middle school there is no jobshare aspect to deal with. Financially things should be okay as I have moved to the next point on the pay scale and, any decrease might be partially covered by being eligible for tax credits.

And I am not bothered about using the afternoons for house stuff - just to pick DD1 up from pre-school once a week and spend some time with both DDs.

Fingers crossed.

OrangeKnickers Thu 09-Jul-09 15:37:13

I work four days and have Wednesdays off, which I really like. Only two aways away from ds at a time.

The only issue is that there isn't much time to do house stuff. Not so much cleaning as we have a cleaner but bigger projects like decluttering, sorting out clothes, tiding up after we've been away for a weekend. At weekends you want to do 'fun' stuff so you end up leaving stuff. You have to get your dh up to speed and make sure he is going enough. If you've been doing all the house stuff while on Mat leave he'll need a big Shove to pick it up again.

But it's good. The money is good and you don't get too left behind at work. But you do have to be very organised!

countrymumpkin Mon 13-Jul-09 13:12:06

I'm currently working a five day/35 hour week but am just about to apply to reduce to a 4 day/28 hour week, even though my salary is our only income.

DH stays home and looks after both DDs but doesn't get much housework or domestic stuff done (grrr) and I've had enough of trying to do everything and consequently missing out on quality time with the girls. You never know, reducing my hours might finally push DH into looking for some work (which I've been nagging him about for quite a while)!

I'm planning to take the Friday off to give myself an extended weekend so that I can do the housework on the Friday, leaving the weekend clear for family fun.

Now I've made the decision I can't wait. I think we can manage on the reduced salary, though I do worry a bit about whether I can fit the workload into four days!

kerrrrching Mon 13-Jul-09 13:16:03

i used to do a 4 day week and had wednesdays of.

my god how i miss them, i think that was the perfect day to have of.

hopeing that after the summer i can maybe have them of again for a while (fingers crossed)

OrangeKnickers Tue 14-Jul-09 10:35:35

countrymumpkin, not sure what you do but instead of cutting your pay by a fifth (and NI and pension contributions etc etc), couldn't you get a cleaner for four hours on a friday instead?

Then you wouldn't have to do a five day job in four days, plus no more arging awith your dh about housework.

tinierclanger Tue 14-Jul-09 10:43:03

You will NOT miss out on Bank Holidays as your employers are obligated to ensure that as a PT worker you are not disadvantaged in comparison to FT staff.

That is a legal requirement - see
this link.

Clary you should have a word with your boss about that!

MissMitford Wed 02-Sep-09 10:09:42

Just wanted to retread some old ground on this one *looking for reassurance*. Currently doing 4 days, with Friday off. Work want me to change to taking Wednesdays off.

DH was doing a 4 day week as well, so DS was only in nursery 3 days. Now DH needs to go back FT so DS will be doing 4 days at nursery (which doesn't seem like any hardship whatsover to him, he loves the place and squeaks with delight whenever we arrive.

Soooo... I am wondering how it will all shape up, taking Wednesdays off. Upside - only 2 days at a time away from DS. Downside - no long weekends.

Should I say ok or fight for my right to fridaaaaay?

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