How you can shift to part-time work before retirement

Do you want to shift from fulltime to part-time before retiring finally? Are you planning to talk with your boss regarding it? Seems like a good move since many baby boomers prefer phased retirement nowadays. The result of the recent survey gives a signal towards that.

Unfortunately, part-time work (reduction in the working hours) for 2 or 3 years is still rare. There is a valid reason behind it. As per the Society of Human Resource Managers report, only 5% of companies offer phased retirement opportunities to employees. If you’re in your mid-fifties and don’t wish to work fulltime, then you have to take pro-active steps. You have to create a convincing phased retirement pitch.

Factors you need to consider

There are 2 factors you need to consider before thinking about phased retirement seriously. First, the effect of phased retirement on your health care benefits, pension, and other perks. Second, the work culture of the company.

What you will lose if you work part-time

If you have opted for traditional pension, then you’ll lose a hefty amount. There will be a pay cut since you’re working for fewer hours in the last few years of employment. The pension formula will take your last drawn salary before retirement. This is not all. You will also lose employer-sponsored medical benefits and paid vacations.

How to convince your boss for phased retirement

You have to plan carefully before taking any step. You have to make a convincing proposal consisting following points.

1. How you will transfer your knowledge to your subordinates

Since you won’t be available full-time and for a long period of time, so it’s essential to pass on your knowledge to juniors. They are the future of the company. You need to transfer the technical expertise to them. Plus you should give them the industry insights and valued connections. But how will you do it?

You can organize a seminar and share your knowledge with the co-workers. You can create an online database or a manual too. You have to decide.

2. How you will schedule your assigned tasks

You have assigned tasks and projects. If you work for fewer hours, then how do you intend to complete them? Do you have any plan? Do you plan to eradicate 20% of your tasks?

Of course, you have to eradicate 20% of your assignments. But don’t emphasize on them in front of your boss. Rather highlight the 80% of the work you’re planning to do on a reduced schedule. Explain your plan on how to complete all your tasks within the new schedule.

3. How you will benefit the company

At the end of the month or year, all that company cares about is profit. You have to show them that your phased retirement plan will eventually benefit the company. It will help to solve many problems. For instance, if most of the members in the top management are nearing retirement, then knowledge transfer plan is a damn good initiative. The younger workers will develop technical expertise gradually and assume leadership roles. Senior employees can guide them in the final years of employment. So all in all, it will be a good investment for the company.

Points to remember

Remember, you must never appear to be needy. Your proposal shouldn’t look like a personal request. Meet your boss and give your proposal before the official meeting. Let him read your proposal and analyze it. This way he will get time to understand your point of view without any pressure. He will get some to think. Bosses don’t like to be pressurized. Don’t forget that.

Since there is no guarantee that your boss will accept your proposal, so you should build checkpoint safeguards. You can give lucrative provisions. For instance,

  • The boss can cancel the part-time work schedule if your proposal fails to work out
  • You will give work updates every 3 months
  • You will work full-time if required


Consider yourself lucky if your employer allows flexible work schedule. This will increase your chances of qualifying for phased retirement. But if the company where you work has low regard for part-time workers, then it will be tough to convince your employer for phased retirement. The aforementioned tips might help you to some extent. Let’s be honest, managers tend to be more accommodating for young workers since they are likely to serve for several years than for soon-to-be retired employees.

Best of luck! Analyze the pros and cons carefully before approaching your boss for phased retirement.

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