Less work - more time with the child

More time for family and children

Do you feel like other fathers: would you like to do more with your children, but don't know where to find the time? Simply reduce your weekly working hours at work: will your income still be enough? And how will the reduced number of hours affect your professional development? Will it put a dent in your career? Read here what you need to consider.


Working six hours a day instead of eight? Or four days a week instead of five? Or leave at lunchtime on two afternoons? Anything is possible! Employees have a legal right to reduce their working hours. For you as a father, this can be an attractive way to have more time for your family and children. Before reducing your working hours, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages.

What the law says

From a legal perspective, the matter is completely clear: as an employee, you have the right to reduce your working hours if your employment relationship has lasted longer than six months and the employer generally employs more than 15 people. This is provided for in Paragraph 8 of the Part-Time and Fixed-Term Employment Act. Unlike parental leave, you are also entitled to this right if your child is older than three years - and even if you have no children at all.

Bridging part-time work even makes it possible to work part-time for a fixed period and then return to your original working hours. This applies if you have been employed for more than six months and your employer has at least 45 employees. You can find the legal regulation on bridge part-time work in section 9a of the Part-Time and Fixed-Term Employment Act


This must be observed

However, the law does lay down some rules for reducing working hours: If you want to work fewer hours, you must inform your employer at least three months in advance.

If your employer intends to refuse the reduction in working hours, they must inform you of this at least one month before the desired reduction begins. A refusal is only possible if your employer can cite good operational reasons - for example, if the reduction would significantly impair the organization, workflow or safety in the company or if it would result in disproportionate costs.

Many employers, however, are generally open to part-time employment. Modern companies have long recognized that employees who reduce their working hours in line with their wishes are more motivated, more satisfied and less willing to change jobs - an important factor in times of a severe shortage of skilled workers in many industries.

The proportion of fathers working part-time is increasing

Comparing the part-time rates of both genders, there are still significantly fewer men working part-time than women. However, the good news is that the proportion of men is growing continuously, as the data from the Federal Statistical Office shows:


Source: Federal Statistical Office Destatis

However, some fathers fear professional disadvantages and fewer opportunities for promotion if they go part-time in order to fulfill their responsibility for balancing family and career. Managers in particular often shy away from reducing their working hours. However, men are usually wrong to fear career disadvantages.

More male role models are probably needed to show that reducing working hours is a win-win situation for everyone. Legally, it is clear anyway: part-time employees must not be at a disadvantage compared to full-time employees.

The budget must be right

But of course, if you reduce your working hours, you will receive the same hourly wage, but the bottom line is that you will forgo part of your salary. Vacation and Christmas bonuses are paid on a pro rata basis. You can use the part-time calculator from the Federal Ministry of Labor to determine how part-time work will affect your net salary.

You should also bear in mind when calculating that you will pay less money into the pension fund, which will have a proportionate effect on your statutory pension. However, the crediting of child-raising periods for parents working part-time partially compensates for the missing pension points.

Where can we find help and advice?

If you would like to know how much salary you are entitled to if you work part-time, the Federal Ministry of Labor offers a part-time calculator.

The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has compiled important questions and answers on the entitlement to a reduction in working hours in an overview.

The online platform bundles advice and support services for men and fathers.

You can read the law on part-time work and fixed-term employment contracts under Laws on the Internet:

You can read about the options for working part-time in the article "Family-friendly working time models" here on the Familienportal.NRW.

Brochures to download

The brochure "Teilzeit - alles, was Recht ist" from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs provides information on the legal conditions for working part-time.

Personal stories and experiences from fathers in NRW can be found on our YouTube channel in the "Active Fatherhood" playlist.