I'm currently working as a full-time QA engineer. I have been working here for a little less than a year. I'm on the autism spectrum with tiredness issues and working full time is just too much for me.

My manager knows that I'm on the autism spectrum and have exhaustion issues (I told him some time ago, before the end of my probation period and he seemed okay with that). However, I'm not recognized by the State as a "handicapped worker"* yet (and it will take several months before I can have it). I do however have the backup of a doctor.

During my next big one-to-one meeting, I'm planning to ask my boss for a part-time (70%) but I'm not sure on how to do it in a way that will make him more likely to accept.

(So, I guess I'm basically asking for negotiation tricks)

About the negotiation

  • I'm not (yet) ready to quit if I can't have this part-time (I gave myself 2~3 years to successfully negotiate a part-time at my current job). If my manager says no to working part-time, I'm just planning on asking again in a few months (when I will have the official "handicapped worker" recognition and thus, a stronger case in my favor).

  • I will be fine with my manager offering just an 80% part-time (because it still would be an improvement) but it would mean that I will likely have to ask for less (70% or less) again in the future.

  • I believe that my manager will try to offer me to work remotely (maybe one day a week). But I'm pretty sure that this won't solve my issues and I would thus consider this a failed negotiation (which means I would have to ask for the part-time again in a not-so-far future).

  • I don't mind hiding parts of the truth when negotiating but I'm really not comfortable with the idea of bluffing.

  • In my last job, I tried to negotiate a part-time (60%) but I told them it was because I wanted time to write stories (instead of saying "I just want a normal life"). This didn't work (it made them feel like I wasn't invested enough).

Notes and clarifications:

  • My manager knows that I have tiredness issues but doesn't understand how much this impacts my work and everyday life.

  • My doctor supports part-time work as a long-lasting solution to the issue. However, this doctor isn't the "occupational physician" and I might need to see this doctor too before being allowed to work part-time.

  • I work in France under the French law.

* Autism is considered a handicap in many countries, France included.

This question might get better/different kind of answers than it would get on the workplace, but I have seen some similar (kind of) questions and the answers there weren't suiting my needs, which is why I chose to post here instead.

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    Personal hint: be careful getting an official handicap certificate; it has downsides as well as upsides (for example, in some countries it severely complicates getting a driving license). – gerrit Jul 24 at 11:19
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    Be sure to decide what is an acceptable part-time for you. When he suggest 80%, that could look as 4 days instead of 5, but also as just an hour or 2 less each day, or even working longer hours on other days to have a day and a half “off”. – AsheraH Jul 24 at 11:40
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In the UK, any employee who has been in their job for more than 26 weeks has a protected right to ask for part-time or flexible working hours. The employer's response has to be a business decision. For example, if you worked in a shop that was open 7-11 and you asked for work midnight-6am then obviously that isn't compatible with the needs of the business and your boss would have a valid business reason for saying no.

I don't know the laws of the country you live in, but even without any laws on your side, if your employer is a businessman then the minimum he will care about is that his business is not affected adversely. Hopefully, if he's a nice guy, he'll care about his staff too. Even more likely is that there is some kind of law or policy on your side here, so all you need to do is construct a request that ticks both these boxes - your needs, and his.

He is more likely to accept if your request:

  • Makes business sense, or at least can be shown not to affect the business adversely
  • Makes sense for you - that is it promotes your health and wellbeing

Also, find out if your company has any policies relating to health and wellbeing or flexible working, and read these in your preparation. You don't have to quote from them, which could sound like you are trying to fight him with his own policies, but rather make sure you use the company's own terminology. For example, if they call it "flexible working", use that term. In my work we have a policy called "improving working lives" which also refers to "work-life-balance". These are terms which tell managers that they have a policy for this sort of thing and should refer to it.

An example of an argument that covers both business and your personal needs might be:

I'd like to make a formal request for part-time working hours. The reason for my request is health-related. I am suffering from fatigue which is related to a diagnosed condition, and I believe that reducing my hours to 70% would improve my health and wellbeing.

I have considered how that would affect the company, and I believe it can only have a positive effect - I feel that the potential improvement to my health would make me more productive in the time that I am here. You would have a saving from my reduced salary. It opens the possibility for job-sharing if somebody else in the company requires part-time hours.

Obviously, if some elements of that do not apply, by all means, change them or write your own - but the principle behind this suggestion is to cover the two issues that underpin a valid request - your wellbeing, and the needs of the business.

  • You say you have a similar policy in your company. Is what you're quoting a way people used to ask for a part-time job? – avazula Jul 24 at 11:05
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    I'm not quoting, I have written the suggested approach myself. I explain that this approach is aiming to address the two elements that would be contained within a formal application. This approach is informal, as the OP wants to raise it in a scheduled one-to-one meeting but I believe they should apply the same logic to a formal application too., – Astralbee Jul 24 at 12:39

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