Currently a full-time senior lecturer in a UK university (post-1992, lower middle-ranking if it matters).

I am thinking of going part-time (0.8 or even 0.6) due to physical or/and mental health. Not sure what I am asking here. Guess I am wondering how I may approach this, as I have never done this before. Nor do I know of any 40 male (no child) having such arrangement around me... Do I need to have "hard evidence" for this? I mean, it's not like I am taking advantage of the university or something... Physical health-wise, I had a successful operation years ago, It's not major at the moment (touch wood), but occasionally gives minor discomfort. Mental health wise, my therapist is happy to confirm for me.

I wonder how I may approach this?

  • thanks @quantum
    – Nick
    Feb 18, 2022 at 15:23
  • I might suspect that conversion to part time because of a documented disability (physical and/or mental health) might be easier than just stepping back voluntarily. I read that is the approach you want to take. So, what are the disability policies at your institution? Going over to your benefits people and having a chat might be a start.
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 18, 2022 at 15:38
  • Thank you guys for your replies. Not sure where I can give my own update to my original post so I post here. I am only expecting pro rata salary.
    – Nick
    Feb 22, 2022 at 10:29

3 Answers 3


All UK employees have a statutory right to request "flexible working", which includes part-time. Now, the employer doesn't have to grant your request, but it does have to go through a predefined procedure to make that decision, rather than it just being the informal snap decision of your Head of department/school, pro-vice chancellor or HR bod.

There is a specific form to fill in usually.

See the advice here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/rights-at-work/flexible-working/flexible-working-what-is-it/

I'd start by approaching your head of department. Its probably worth knowing who your union rep is, although the union will usually only provide individual case work help if you've been in the union for at least 3 months when the problem with which you want help arose.

  • Thanks Ian. We usually have next year's workload planning in April. Would you say that's a good time to naturally bring up to the line manager (head of department)? And thanks for the union information, hope it won't come to this...
    – Nick
    Feb 22, 2022 at 10:38
  • 1
    Sounds like a good plan. Feb 22, 2022 at 17:13

Talk to HR. Talk to a department head or dean. This is a local problem that you need to work out. Some places (not UK specific) will let you do such things with no salary adjustments for even an extended period. People have accidents. Employers, not just universities, expect to have to make adjustments for such things. They likely have an insurance program to cover the fact that you are effectively part time so that it is reasonable to avoid reductions in salary.

How much you need to reveal depends on local law and custom. Knowing your doctor will back you up if necessary is a plus.

  • 5
    I really would not start there in a UK university in 2022. Better have a conversation with the UCU representative first. Then you can approach your department/whoever with a clearer view of what the options are. (I am sorry to think this is now the case, but fear it is.) Feb 18, 2022 at 16:26
  • @erstwhileeditor, maybe you should write it up as an answer, since it is UK specific and mine is not.
    – Buffy
    Feb 18, 2022 at 16:31
  • 2
    Note UCU = ucu.org.uk
    – Buffy
    Feb 18, 2022 at 16:40
  • Take this as an example (NOT my university!) ucu.org.uk/… Is Branch contact the UCU representative?
    – Nick
    Feb 22, 2022 at 10:35

Buffy explores options to reduce the workload at full pay. This will only work with medical reasoons and for a limited amount of time (it might be a long time though).

If you are considering a reduction in work time and pay this should be a lot more straight forward. Reducing your weekly hours to 80% or 60% and reducing pay in line is probably an option you can take just because you want to. Talk to HR to inquire about the formalities, your dean probably has to give a formal signature but in general I would expect you can just choose to reduce your hours without having to give any justification.

  • Thanks. I hope it will be this straight forward... yes I am expecting a pro rata pay...
    – Nick
    Feb 22, 2022 at 10:36

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