Even with the somewhat promising employment report and holiday shopping rush that the media has been sticking under our noses, sluggish sales and strained cash flow are still making headlines for countless small business owners. In order to sustain the prolonged economic restraint, many small businesses have had to restructure their workforce. Often, that means either letting go of employees or cutting back on hours worked.


If you own a small business and are considering moving some of your full time staff over to part time positions, then there are three words that you need to keep in mind: proceed with caution. Not only do want to avoid creating resentments and frustrations among your loyal workers, but you also want to create a setup that will actually save your business money- both in the short-term and over the long-run.

Here are five things to consider:

1. What responsibilities will the part-time position have? If you want a surefire way to build up employee resentment, then make your employees work a full-time job while offering the hours and pay of a part-time position. Not only will your workers be unhappy, but such practices are bound to backfire as the quality and pace of your workers’ output declines. If your employees will be working less then see what responsibilities can be comfortably taken out of the full-time position.

2. Do you have enough manpower to cover the workload? Before deciding whether or not to convert a full-time position to one that is part time, make sure your business has enough workers to get the job done without them having to overextend themselves.

3. How many hours will the employee work? Once you are clear about the job description for your new part-time position, then you can go about determining the amount of hours required to complete the job. Depending on your business’ setup, you may want to do a trial run at the beginning to see if the part-time job requirements can be comfortably fulfilled within the time allotted, and make it a point to ask your employees how they are holding up and if they have any suggestions for the position.

4. How much should you pay? If the full-time position was a salaried one, then you will need to determine an equivalent part-time wage. To do this you have to convert the yearly salary to an hourly wage by dividing the total salary by the total number of work hours in a year. Once you have an hourly wage, you can then multiply it by the number of hours you expect your part-time employee to work.

5. What benefits if any will you be offering? One of the most important parts of employee compensation is the additional benefits associated with it, such as a qualified retirement plan and health care plan. Sometimes these benefits can be worth as much to the employee as the actual wages received. That said, any changes to your employee benefits package should be done carefully- especially for those workers who were previously engaged in a full-time position with your company.

Also, keep in mind, that some benefits, such as healthcare, will require a minimum amount of hours worked, while others, such as retirement plans, must by law kick in if an employee works over a certain amount of hours per year.

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