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  • FIRST POST
    • simonineaston
    • By simonineaston 10th Apr 18, 12:56 PM
    • 119Posts
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    simonineaston
    reducing hours - the right choice...
    • #1
    • 10th Apr 18, 12:56 PM
    reducing hours - the right choice... 10th Apr 18 at 12:56 PM
    As I move towards state pension age (4 years away) I'm in a position where I can reduce my hours. I work in education and so one of the options is to work term-time only (TTO). Another possibility is to work four days each week (4DW). Each option will have its pros and cons and I'd like to take into account as many viewpoints as possible. What benefits do folk think there are in each of these options?
    Two comments I can think of straight away are: TTO means joining in with everyone else in buying and paying for travel and holiday packages during the school hols. It's a pretty established fact that travel and holiday packages will be dearer and holiday destinations more crowed than during term-time. On the other hand, working four day each week, gives me a long week-end each and every seven days - I've always prefered short breaks to longer holidays. Working a 4DW means I can choose my annual leave pretty much any time I want it, too.
    Both choices will give me more-or-less the same reduction in salary - or do they? Does anyone know for sure? (I work for a local authority so I'm sure there'll be folk out there who are familiar with the scenario.)
    I've had a chat with a chum who is a dab hand at reducing his hours - has done ever since I've known him - and he's coming down on the side of the TTO option, although he would say that, 'cos he's got two kids, who he adores, whereas I have none (either that I adore or otherwise!)
    Any comments about people's experiences with this conundrum will be much appreciated.
Page 1
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 10th Apr 18, 1:26 PM
    • 4,810 Posts
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    TELLIT01
    • #2
    • 10th Apr 18, 1:26 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Apr 18, 1:26 PM
    I didn't work in education but agree with your concerns about the additional cost of holidays, increased crowds etc if you take the option of TTO. If you don't have children of your own it seems to be a 'No brainer' to take the time off when there are fewer kids around.
    I reduced hours to 4 days per week in my final year before retirement and it really made a huge difference to me. Much more difference than I expected to be honest. I couldn't get either a Monday or Friday off because too many others were already taking those days, might that be a problem for you?
    As my wife was working full time anyway it really didn't matter which day i was off. What I found though with the Thursday off was that I was aware that I was never more than a couple of days away from a break, so I felt much more relaxed at work as well.
    I'm not sure about the salary reduction. Cutting to 4 days per week is a 20% cut in hours, but I have something buzzing around in my head that schools operate roughly 39 weeks per year, meaning a 25% reduction in hours. You'll need to check the details.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 10th Apr 18, 1:55 PM
    • 2,552 Posts
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    ReadingTim
    • #3
    • 10th Apr 18, 1:55 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Apr 18, 1:55 PM
    Is there any difference in the amount/number of holiday days you get doing a 4DW vs being TTO? Appreciate it's more expensive, but you should probably check to see if there's any difference by calculating the number of full weeks without work you'd be entitled to under each working arrangement - you wouldn't want to have (say) 9 weeks off per year under TTO but only 7 under a 4DW I should guess....
    • ohreally
    • By ohreally 10th Apr 18, 2:39 PM
    • 6,570 Posts
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    ohreally
    • #4
    • 10th Apr 18, 2:39 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Apr 18, 2:39 PM
    Is there a final salary pension to impact?
    Donít be a canít, be a can.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 10th Apr 18, 3:21 PM
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    agrinnall
    • #5
    • 10th Apr 18, 3:21 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Apr 18, 3:21 PM
    I've reduced my days to 4 long before I retire, and it does make a much bigger psychological difference than you might expect a 20% reduction to offer. It probably helps that my day off is normally Monday, so I do 4 days on and 3 days off, but the weekend always seems much longer than before and the working week much shorter - Friday is never that far away! And if I take 4 days holiday I'm actually away from work for 10 days.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 10th Apr 18, 3:21 PM
    • 38,375 Posts
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    Savvy_Sue
    • #6
    • 10th Apr 18, 3:21 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Apr 18, 3:21 PM
    Can't comment on the TTO aspect, but if you're keen to get a 3 day weekend every week, do check that getting every Friday or Monday off would be possible. And also whether there would be any flexibility - I'm guessing in a school not so much!

    Where I work, I think the next person to ask for a reduction to the first half of the week will be politely declined.

    ATM I don't work Thursdays, but I'm thinking of going down to 3.5 days pw, although on a fortnightly pattern, so 4 days one week and 3 the next. I LOVE my Thursdays. There is flexibility both ways: if they want me in and give sufficient notice I'll do it, and if I want a long weekend I'll swap to a different day off. But it's not always easy.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern on order...
    • simonineaston
    • By simonineaston 10th Apr 18, 5:00 PM
    • 119 Posts
    • 71 Thanks
    simonineaston
    • #7
    • 10th Apr 18, 5:00 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Apr 18, 5:00 PM
    Thanks folks, lots of little things to think about there and I'm starting to collect a list of the questions I should ask my chum in HR!
    As far as pension is concerned, I've already got the ball rolling re a conversation with the good folk who run the scheme. It was traditional final salary up until 2014, when it changed to new terms, which is an advantage in a way, in that any changes in my hours & so salary, will only affect the part of my pension from 2014 onwards.
    As far as the Q. about holiday pay and TTO is concerned, my chum who champions TTO has patiently explained on several occasions how the drop in salary benefits from our statutory entitlement to annual leave, so although the pay is reduced pro rata to the equivalent of 39 weeks, one is still entitled to be paid for statutory annual leave, even though you don't work (or get paid for...) the school holidays. Too much for my tiny bear-like brain, I'm afraid, but fortunately my very numerate friend says it works out that you get about 80-ish% of the full time salary, whereas you actually work only 75% of the full time year.
    I must say my immediate reaction is to embrace the 4DW but as suggested upthread, there's 4DWs and there's 4DWs!
    A canny colleague pointed out that not working Mondays means you are already not working the several bank holiday Mondays and so miss out on them in a way. Others have commented that although a mid-week day off may not seem the obvious choice, those who do it seem to enjoy it - as has been said, you're never more than a couple of days away from a break.
    At this stage I'm favouring the 4DW approach, with Friday as the day off, but I'm open to all and sundry suggestions. Keep 'em coming!
    Last edited by simonineaston; 10-04-2018 at 5:08 PM.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 10th Apr 18, 5:03 PM
    • 38,375 Posts
    • 34,965 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    • #8
    • 10th Apr 18, 5:03 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Apr 18, 5:03 PM
    Just one other thing about Mondays: I always feel I'm starting the week on the back foot if I'm not in on a Monday ...
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern on order...
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 10th Apr 18, 6:42 PM
    • 1,663 Posts
    • 1,768 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    • #9
    • 10th Apr 18, 6:42 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Apr 18, 6:42 PM
    TTO is great if you have school age kids but otherwise I'd go for a shorter week. It's great having a long weekend and when I worked 4 days it was so helpful to be able to shop and do jobs when it's not so busy. Unless you have something really full on you like to do then what would you do for 6 weeks in the summer and holidays every 6 weeks? Ask your hr department to tell you what the pay would be in each senario.
    • simonineaston
    • By simonineaston 11th Apr 18, 12:38 PM
    • 119 Posts
    • 71 Thanks
    simonineaston
    Cheers folks - really helpful comments! I'm having a chat with HR tomorrow - how exciting :-)
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 11th Apr 18, 3:47 PM
    • 2,552 Posts
    • 3,642 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    One more thing with a 4DW. I know you said you preferred shorter breaks to longer holidays, but realistically, would you get that by just having long weekends every weekend?

    Dunno about you, but with me, the risk would be that you end up mooching round for that additional day doing not a lot (friends etc possibly being at work), meaning you'd still need to book additional days off if you wanted to go anywhere too far away. Yes, it's nice having a day off when everyone else is at school or work (it feels naughty, like bunking off school), but you probably want to be sure you'd use that time usefully, given you'll be working every week, including school holidays....
    • SandC
    • By SandC 11th Apr 18, 4:06 PM
    • 3,778 Posts
    • 5,593 Thanks
    SandC
    A couple of things I've noticed from others who have reduced their hours, of course depending upon the role.

    Reduction of hours as a shorter week can mean you end up with the same workload, you just have to do it in a shorter space of time. Win for the employer there as you just have to play catch up from the day you weren't there.

    But, have a Monday or a Friday off each week and you may stand to accrue some bank holidays as leave at another time as you weren't scheduled to be working that day anyway. If your offices always close on bank holidays that is. Win for employee.

    Reduction in the working week also means using less annual leave for a week or two off, but you need to compare this with the pro rata reduction in holidays. Working TTO you know where you are with holidays but as you said you're restricted to busier and more expensive times for booking actual trips.

    I would lean towards a 4dw also I think on balance. Having a six week summer break and a few two week breaks I'm pretty sure I wouldn't use the whole time in a productive way, always thinking that I'd got ages until I'm back at work and before I know it I've spent a week not getting dressed until lunchtime. That could just be me. :-)

    Another point that's just occurred to me, if you are TTO what if you need an odd day off for something? Will you have any paid leave to cover for the odd home emergency, funeral etc? Much easier to swap your one day off to cover eventualities in this case.

    Nice predicament to have anyway, hope that will be me before too long. :-)
    • SandC
    • By SandC 11th Apr 18, 4:08 PM
    • 3,778 Posts
    • 5,593 Thanks
    SandC
    I've got a bunch of friends who don't work Fridays by the way, they keep organising lunches and stuff and I'm like 'hey some of us have to go to work!'. :-)
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 11th Apr 18, 4:13 PM
    • 1,532 Posts
    • 2,016 Thanks
    NeilCr
    One more thing with a 4DW. I know you said you preferred shorter breaks to longer holidays, but realistically, would you get that by just having long weekends every weekend?

    Dunno about you, but with me, the risk would be that you end up mooching round for that additional day doing not a lot (friends etc possibly being at work), meaning you'd still need to book additional days off if you wanted to go anywhere too far away. Yes, it's nice having a day off when everyone else is at school or work (it feels naughty, like bunking off school), but you probably want to be sure you'd use that time usefully, given you'll be working every week, including school holidays....
    Originally posted by ReadingTim
    I went down to three days before I retired. What I did was to start doing things on those days that I would be carrying on in retirement. I joined the gym and started volunteering.

    It made the transition easier as I had days where I was occupied when retirement kicked in. I knew folks at both places - and it was easy to increase attendance if I wanted to.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 11th Apr 18, 5:51 PM
    • 2,552 Posts
    • 3,642 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    I went down to three days before I retired. What I did was to start doing things on those days that I would be carrying on in retirement. I joined the gym and started volunteering.

    It made the transition easier as I had days where I was occupied when retirement kicked in. I knew folks at both places - and it was easy to increase attendance if I wanted to.
    Originally posted by NeilCr
    Good point. I'm 20-25 years off that position, so answered accordingly. Given the OP's 4-ish years off, transitioning to retirement maybe something they want to think about.

    One further point from the world of working full time perspective, and which has negatively affected female colleagues of mine looking for 4DW or similarly almost-but-not-quite-FT roles is the extent to which someone else can do things on the days you're not there. Given the rest of business works 5 days, there's an expectation that you'll be there, and working, even if you're not supposed to be. And even if you're not, the e-mails keep coming in.... So, while the hours and pay go down, the workload doesn't. Effectively, they're expected to do a week's worth of work in 4 days, and are paid less for it.

    The OP should ensure that their workload is reduced along with their hours - I can't imagine that during a busy period (say exam time) the response "I don't have enough time to look at this now, it'll have to wait until the summer holidays" will be well-received....
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 11th Apr 18, 11:06 PM
    • 31,866 Posts
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    getmore4less
    working 46.4 with 5.6 weeks holiday.

    TTO 39 weeks and 4.7 paid weeks holiday leaving 8.3 weeks/41.5 days unpaid

    4DW will have 52 days unpaid.

    you still get 5.6 weeks with a just each week is 4 days
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