Part-time work means that you work less than 40 hours per week, i.e. you earn less and have more free time in return.
However, you only have the right to reduce your full-time position to a part-time one if:
- You have been working there for more than six months and
- your employer has more than 15 employees.
If these prerequisites are met, your employer may only refuse your request if it massively affects the workflow.
Before asking to switch to part-time work, there are three main issues to clarify:
1. Can you afford to work part-time financially? The BMAS part-time wage calculator can help you find out.
2. What effects would part-time work have on your pension? The lower your income, the lower your pension will be later. You can seek advice on this regard from the German Pension Insurance ("Rentenversicherung"). You can find out more about the pension system in our chapter "Retiring in Germany".
3. Is it possible to switch back to full-time work upon request or after a specific time? Going back to a full-time position is often challenging for many. As a result, a new so-called "Brückenteilzeit" (roughly: "bridge part-time") was introduced in January 2019. A "Brückenteilzeit" allows you to work part-time for a certain period and then automatically switch to full-time again. However, you are only entitled to "Brückenteilzeit" if your employer has more than 45 staff.
If you want to ask your employer to switch to part-time work, you can find a sample application form at finanztip.de. Submit your application at least three months before the time you would like to switch to part-time- your employer must give you a written answer at least one month before the time you want to switch. If your employer does not respond or responds too late, your application will be considered approved. In case the employer rejects your request, you can take legal actions, but you should definitely seek specialised advice in advance.