Flexible working as your kids grow up

three kids blowing soap bubbles in garden

three kids blowing soap bubbles in gardenAs your children grow up you may find you have more time on your hands as they do longer school hours, become more independent and don’t need babysitting any more – but what’s the best approach to negotiate changes with your employer?


So your kids are growing up now and you have more time to increase your working hours – to enable you to save money for all those additional expenses that older children bring – provided you can negotiate changes with your employer, that is. Here’s how to go about it…

Communicate openly with your boss

If you want to increase your hours, go to your employer with an agenda which shows them the positive contribution you can make with the extra time. How you can save the company time and money – without them having to train somebody else to do the job.

Remember that while your employer must consider any application for a revised pattern of flexible working, they have no obligation to increase your hours.

“It depends on the employer, the relationship you have with them and the nature of the work,” says Nora Smith, of the charity Employers For Childcare.

“You need to convince your employer. They need to recognise it makes financial sense.

“If you are a good employee your track record should speak for itself. If you are flexible for them and carry out duties that weren’t in your job description, they may reciprocate. Happy employees make more productive employees.”

Choose the right moment – particularly when you are aware of a new business deal.

Don’t moan that you are broke and need the money. Your employer won’t want to know what the advantages are for you, but the advantages for the business.

You have to be flexible

If there are no vacancies to increase hours in your existing job, see if you can earn more money by asking if there are opportunities in other departments to do more hours.

Alternatively, you can earn money by increasing your hours temporarily. In retail industries this may be possible during their busiest times, such as the run-up to Christmas.

If you are in a job share, seek out the person you’re sharing the role with to see if they might be willing to reduce their hours. You never know, they may have young children and would rather have the extra time, than the money. If they are willing, go to your employer with a game-plan.

If you work shifts, offer to do extra shifts on an ad hoc basis and be paid overtime for them.

If your employer says no…

You can make a complaint if you think your request to change your flexible working pattern has been unfairly considered. Speak to your HR department.

However, you can’t complain if there are no extra hours available. Instead bide your time and ask your employer to think of you first if any extra work crops up, and try to do the best job you can in the meantime.

If all else fails, search for another part-time job which would fit in with your family arrangements.