Can Boss Reduce My Hours? Yes, When These 12 Situations…

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

Have you been working too many hours? Are you feeling burned out? If yes, you might wonder: “Can boss reduce my hours?”

The answer is that it depends. Work hours are typically set by employer-employee agreements, workplace policies, or labor laws.

12 Situations – Can Boss Reduce My Hours?

If any of these things are in place, then your boss can’t just arbitrarily reduce your hours.

They would need a good reason to do so. And they would likely have to give you advance notice. However, if there isn’t an agreement, your boss could reduce your hours with little notice.

Here are all the situations when your boss can legally reduce your hours:

1. Fewer Hours Work:

If you work fewer hours than what’s considered full-time, your boss can reduce your hours.

For example, if you are working 32 hours per week. And your boss wants you to work 30 hours per week, and they can reduce your hours.

Full-time work - Can Boss Reduce My Hours

This means you’ll have to work even fewer hours each week. Because full-time work has no specified hours. So why not reduce them on requirement. But you’ll still be considered a full-time employee.

What are the standard hours for full-time work? This varies from country to country.

A full-time employee typically works at least 35 hours per week in the United States.

In the European Union, a full-time employee typically works at least 38 hours per week.

So whether you are a full-time employee can depend on where you live and work.

2. Seasonal Or Temporary Position:

Is your position seasonal or temporary? If yes, your boss can reduce your hours.

For example, let’s say you work in a retail store. The store is only open during the holiday season.

When the holiday season is over, the store closes down. And you are no longer needed.

In this case, your boss can reduce your hours to zero. And they don’t have to give you any notice.

Or if there is an industry working for wedding halls and management. But the work only exists during the wedding season.

After the wedding season is over, they don’t need as many employees. So they may reduce your hours.

Instead of working 40 hours per week, you may only work 20 hours per week. It will allow them to save on labor costs.

3. New Hire:

If you are a new hire, your employer may not have committed to a set number of hours.

They may want to see your work before deciding how many hours to give you.

In this case, your boss can reduce your hours with little notice. For instance, they may give you two weeks’ notice.

It might say, “You have accepted our offer. We want to inform you that your hours will be reduced from 40 to 30 per week.

It is to check your compatibility with the team. In case it doesn’t work out, your contract will get terminated. However, you will get two weeks’ notice.”

4. Decrease In Business Demand:

A decrease in business demand means less work to do. For example, let’s say you work in a company that sells winter clothes.

After winter, there will be a decrease in demand for your company’s products.

As a result, your boss may reduce your hours. They may only need you to work 20 hours per week instead of 40.

And this decrease in business demand can be seasonal. For example, every year after Christmas, there is a decrease in Christmas trees.

As a result, the company that sells Christmas trees may reduce their employees’ hours.

5. Employer Needs To Save On Labor Costs:

If your employer needs to save on labor costs, they may reduce your hours.

For example, let’s say you work in a restaurant. And the restaurant is not doing well. The owner may want to save on labor costs.

As a result, they may reduce your hours from 40 to 30 hours per week.

Save on labor costs

Or they may close the restaurant on certain days. For example, instead of being open seven days a week, they may only be open five days a week.

This will allow them to save on labor costs. With these reductions, your boss may not have to lay off employees.

6. Project-Based Work:

Project-based work is when you are only needed for a specific project. And once the project is over, your job ends.

For example, let’s say you work in a construction company. And the company is building a new office.

Once the office is built, your job is complete. The company may not need you anymore. As a result, your boss can reduce your hours to zero. And they don’t have to give you any notice.

Or if there is a client’s project that doesn’t need much work after a certain point. The employer can reduce the hours given to the workers.

7. Freelancing:

Usually, freelancing is project-based. However, some types include per-hour work.

For example, let’s say you are a freelance writer. And you have a contract with a client. The agreement may be for ten articles.

Once you have written the ten articles, your job gets done. The client may not need you anymore. As a result, your boss can reduce your hours to zero.

Or, if the client only needs you for a specific number of hours, they may only need you for 10 hours per day.

However, their requirement changes after some time. Now they only need you for 5 hours per day. In this case, your boss can reduce your hours.

8. Working From Home:

If you work from home, your employer may not always need you to be available.

For example, let’s say you work as a customer service representative. And you work from home.

Your employer may only need you to be available during certain hours. For example, they may only require you to be open from 9 am to 1 pm.

That may be the time when most of their customers are calling. As a result, your boss can reduce your hours.

And they don’t have to give you any notice. They can change your shift.

9. Sickness:

Employee sickness is one of the reasons for reducing hours. Usually, it happens when an employee is on sick leave.

For example, let’s say you have the flu. And you can’t come to work. Your boss may need to find someone to fill in for you.

But since they can’t, they request you to work for lesser hours. For instance, instead of working 8 hours per day, they may only need you to work 4 hours per day.

10. Maternity Leave:

Maternity leave is another reason for reducing hours. For example, you may be pregnant and decide to take maternity leave.

Instead of giving all your hours to another employee, your boss may only give half of your hours to another employee.

Maternity leave

And the other half, they may not give to anyone. They may reduce the hours of operation for that day.

For instance, if you usually work from 8 am to 5 pm, they ask you to work from 8 am to 2 pm.

This way, they can still open the business for half the day. But they don’t have to pay someone for the other half of the day.

11. Vacation:

Usually, employees don’t work on vacations. However, some businesses are open during holidays.

For example, let’s say you work in a hotel. And the hotel is open during Christmas.

Your boss may only need you to work a few hours during the day. And they don’t require you to work at night.

As a result, your boss can reduce your hours. Their business is still open. But they don’t have to pay you for hours they don’t need.

12. Retirement:

Retirement is another reason for reducing hours. For example, let’s say you are 65 years old and decide to retire.

Your boss may only need you to work for a few hours per week. Or they may only require you to work for a few days per month.

This means that your hours get reduced. But you are still working. And since your boss doesn’t want you to quit altogether, they reduce your hours.

They retain you as an employee. But they don’t have to pay you for hours they don’t need.

How To Request Boss To Reduce Your Working Hours

If you want to request your boss to reduce your working hours, you need to have a valid reason.

And you also need to be able to prove that you can still do your job even if your hours get reduced.

Here are some tips on how to request your boss to reduce your working hours:

1. Make A Case For Yourself:

The first thing you need to do is to make a case for yourself. You need to prove to your boss that you can still do your job even if your hours get reduced.

For example, let’s say you are a salesperson. And you want to request your boss to reduce your hours.

You can tell them you can still make the same sales even if you work fewer hours.

You can also tell them you can still meet your quota even if you work fewer hours.

2. Use The Right Language:

When making your request, you need to use the correct language. It would help if you sound professional.

Professional - Can Boss Reduce My Hours

And it would help if you also sounded convincing. For example, instead of saying, “I want to work fewer hours,” you can say, “I would like to request a reduction in my working hours.”

It will show that you are serious about your request. And it will also make your boss take you more seriously.

3. Give A Valid Reason:

A valid reason is necessary if you want your boss to consider your request.

For example, you can’t just say that you want to reduce your hours because you want more free time.

It would help if you had a valid reason. For example, you can say that you want to reduce your hours because you need to take care of your child.

Or you can say that you want to reduce your hours because you need to care for your parents.

4. Be Flexible:

When you are making your request, you need to be flexible. For example, you can’t just say you want to work 4 hours daily.

It would help if you were flexible with your hours. For example, you can say you are willing to work 4 hours daily. But you are also willing to work 5 hours per day in case of emergencies.

So here are some tips on how to request your boss to reduce your working hours. If you follow these tips, there is a good chance that your boss will consider your request.

Final Word:

In conclusion, there are a few reasons your boss may reduce your hours. And there are a few ways you can request your boss to reduce your hours.

But it would help if you had a valid reason. And you also need to be able to prove that you can still do your job even if your hours get reduced..

Last Updated on 1 month by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
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