Author Topic: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)  (Read 6311 times)

Ceridwen

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Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« on: October 15, 2015, 07:51:13 AM »
Bit of background information.  Canadian 33 year old mother of 2 young kids.  I work in non-profit and make 50K, DH works in finance and makes 120K.  No debt except mortgage (4 years left).  200K in savings (doing nothing, need to invest).  250K in RRSPs.

I have just returned to work following my second maternity leave and I am finding it really tough.  I love my job and I'm happy doing it, but the evening rush absolutely sucks.  DH takes care of mornings with the kids (breakfast, daycare drop off).  I leave the office at 4:10pm to get on the 4:20pm train, and by the time I get off the train, pick up the kids at daycare and make the short drive home, it's 5:30pm.  Kids are cranky and tired.  My 1 year old is supposed to go to sleep at 6pm (and she needs it, trust me), but even with a pre-made dinner and skipping a bath, we never make it.  Everyone is pretty miserable.

I asked my boss to reduce my hours at the office and make up the time at home on weeknights (when kids are asleep) and weekends.  I was basically asking for a 20% reduction in overall hours at the office (so I would be home at 4pm instead of 5:30 - a world of difference).  Of course, I was hoping to do this without taking a pay cut, because it felt unfair to have to do the same amount of work for less pay.  My boss said ok to the reduced hours, but HR won't let me do it without taking the pay cut.  My boss will however let me bank my overtime hours worked at home, but I can only take those hours in time-off (example, extra vacation day or sick day - which is always needed with young kids), not in pay.

Would you take a pay cut for doing the same amount of work if it gave you and your family a better quality of life?  I feel like my salary is so small anyway compared to DHs.  And I'm feeling like adopting the MMM lifestyle (which we are in the process of doing) will perhaps more than make up for any loss in salary...

Could I possibly negotiate a smaller pay cut instead of the full 20% for 20% less hours in the office?

Any tips on how to handle this conversation with HR?



UPDATE

After lots of negotiation with HR and my boss, we have agreed to a 3 month trial with no pay cut of a modified 8:00 - 3:30pm schedule.  I will now only get a 30 min lunch break (which I rarely take anyway) and the additional 30 mins of lost work time will be made up on my own time (at home or on the train). 

So it's not exactly what I wanted (8:00 - 3:00) schedule, but it's a fair compromise.

The option mentioned that my boss proposed of banking overtime worked at home was nixed by HR.  They said I couldn't bank overtime if I wasn't working the full-time schedule.

My organization is hung up on the "if we give this to you, we have to give it to everyone else" fear, so it took a lot of convincing to get to this point.  I'm proud of myself for making the ask and sticking to it even when the initial responses were always NO, or ok, but only with a pay cut.

Thanks for your help and encouragement!
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 10:34:27 AM by Ceridwen »

MissStache

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2015, 07:55:17 AM »
Will you still be able to do your job effectively with 20% less time or will it change the amount of work assigned to you?

Kaminoge

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2015, 07:56:05 AM »
I would because I value my sanity...

I would however try to make sure that you're taking advantage of the time-off that you're earning, don't let it pile up and then disappear. There's no harm in trying to see if HR will be ameneable to negotiation but I guess you have to plan based on the fact that they might not be.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2015, 07:58:01 AM »
Will you still be able to do your job effectively with 20% less time or will it change the amount of work assigned to you?

With a bit of work at home on weeknights and weekends, I could get all my work done.  It wouldn't change the amount of work assigned to me.  At least in theory, my boss says it won't.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2015, 08:01:43 AM »
I would because I value my sanity...

I would however try to make sure that you're taking advantage of the time-off that you're earning, don't let it pile up and then disappear. There's no harm in trying to see if HR will be ameneable to negotiation but I guess you have to plan based on the fact that they might not be.

I would for sure use up all of my overtime earned.  My kids catch every germ that crosses their paths.  I need a lot of sick days :)

hunniebun

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2015, 08:02:34 AM »
100% yes!  When I returned from my second Mat leave I found the rush very draining and difficult for all of us. I think that for a short period of time, the trade off of a small reduction in pay is totally worth the sanity and extra time with your kids.  It is nice they they will let you bank additional time, for even more time off. I would rather have that then the extra pay.  The truth is the pay cut likely won't be very much and you will get use to the new normal in a few pays and you won't even miss it.   These early years can be crazy and anything to make it a little easier is totally worth it!

Platypuses

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2015, 08:13:06 AM »
Just curious, how much do you pay in daycare? It might seem like the cost to work might be about the same as staying home. At least that would be the case for us down here in Texas ($1k/mo/kid *2+ taxes + commuting cost+ misc working cost such as clothes, lunches out, having to pay extra for conveniences due to lack of time =~ 50k gross pay).

If you take a 20% paycut assuming your taxes are 20%. Net take home pay example:
Gross= 40k
After taxes (assume 20%) = 32k
Daycare (assume $800/mo/kid) = $12.8k - whatever the additional costs of working are.

It seems like you have a nice nest egg. If you don't think you want to be a SAHM maybe you could consider volunteering, or really working part time (possibly ask boss if you could strictly work from home only doing 10-20 hours/week).

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2015, 08:24:31 AM »
Just curious, how much do you pay in daycare? It might seem like the cost to work might be about the same as staying home. At least that would be the case for us down here in Texas ($1k/mo/kid *2+ taxes + commuting cost+ misc working cost such as clothes, lunches out, having to pay extra for conveniences due to lack of time =~ 50k gross pay).

If you take a 20% paycut assuming your taxes are 20%. Net take home pay example:
Gross= 40k
After taxes (assume 20%) = 32k
Daycare (assume $800/mo/kid) = $12.8k - whatever the additional costs of working are.

It seems like you have a nice nest egg. If you don't think you want to be a SAHM maybe you could consider volunteering, or really working part time (possibly ask boss if you could strictly work from home only doing 10-20 hours/week).

We are very lucky to have government subsidized daycare (Quebec).  Up until last year, it was a flat fee of $7/day for excellent quality care (including lunch and snacks).  Now the government changed it to a sliding scale based on income, so our family falls under the top tier of household income earners and we pay $20/day per kid.  Still pretty cheap.

Commuting costs are low at $100/month for my train pass.

I don't want to be a SAHM.  I just don't have it in me.  Plus, I like my job and even though my low pay doesn't reflect it, I worked hard to get to where I am and my work is extremely rewarding (international health care programs: really interesting work, awesome travel opportunities around the world, amazing colleagues).

Platypuses

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2015, 08:34:13 AM »
Just curious, how much do you pay in daycare? It might seem like the cost to work might be about the same as staying home. At least that would be the case for us down here in Texas ($1k/mo/kid *2+ taxes + commuting cost+ misc working cost such as clothes, lunches out, having to pay extra for conveniences due to lack of time =~ 50k gross pay).

If you take a 20% paycut assuming your taxes are 20%. Net take home pay example:
Gross= 40k
After taxes (assume 20%) = 32k
Daycare (assume $800/mo/kid) = $12.8k - whatever the additional costs of working are.

It seems like you have a nice nest egg. If you don't think you want to be a SAHM maybe you could consider volunteering, or really working part time (possibly ask boss if you could strictly work from home only doing 10-20 hours/week).

We are very lucky to have government subsidized daycare (Quebec).  Up until last year, it was a flat fee of $7/day for excellent quality care (including lunch and snacks).  Now the government changed it to a sliding scale based on income, so our family falls under the top tier of household income earners and we pay $20/day per kid.  Still pretty cheap.

Commuting costs are low at $100/month for my train pass.

I don't want to be a SAHM.  I just don't have it in me.  Plus, I like my job and even though my low pay doesn't reflect it, I worked hard to get to where I am and my work is extremely rewarding (international health care programs: really interesting work, awesome travel opportunities around the world, amazing colleagues).

That is nice!! It's a no-brainer definitely take the reduced hours, but I would be very persistent with HR to keep my salary the same if you will have the same project load and time commitment.

AZDude

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2015, 09:35:53 AM »
Quote
Would you take a pay cut for doing the same amount of work

Hell no. Take the pay cut and the reduced hours without the extra time at night/weekends. Seems like the optimal solution.

catccc

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2015, 09:59:22 AM »
Not really the exact same situation, but similar.  I had a job that was a regular 40 hours per week job- and really it was way more, I did so much working from home, it was making me miserable and anxious about getting the kids in bed so I could log on and work.  Anyway, my salary there was 89K, and about to turn over to 91K.  I left for a job that had a standard 37.5 hour workweek with little to no overtime.  The starting salary was $85K.  So I left the same week my new salary kicked in, effectively taking a $6K salary cut and $7K of unvested 401K match.  Best decision ever.  Between better benefits and fewer hours, I know I'm pulling in the same or more compensation per hour.  I did double my commute from 20 to 40 minutes, but the balance I experience in my life is phenomenal and well worth it.

I really take issue with HR wanting to cut your pay.  It might be a matter of vocabulary here, but you are essentially asking to work remotely 7.5 hours a week.  I wouldn't take a pay cut for that.   It really seems unfair.  I would say you want to work with HR on establishing a formal telecommuting "benefit" for employees, of course subject to manager and HR approval.  If you are really going to use all your banked hours, though, then maybe taking the pay cut is okay.  But you really have to use it all.  Essentially making it the same pay for reduced hours.  Just make sure you will really be allowed to do that.

snuggler

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2015, 10:14:20 AM »
I'd at least try to negotiate with HR, only because you will be putting in the same number of hours. For example, if they are stuck on you not being in the office as much, can you arrive early instead of working at home late at night? Can you come in on the weekend?

It just seems like you have nothing to lose by trying to work with HR. Worst-case, you accept what they are offering you right now. Best-case, you get to keep more money or find a better solution.

Also, how long have you been back? You may want to try a few other adjustments before accepting the 20% paycut, especially if you don't think HR will bump you back up to 100% if you regret your decision. Changes take time, and you might be surprised at how quickly you all can adjust.

For example, can bathtime be in the mornings? Can you have fun or relaxing songs or stories for the kids to listen to on the drive home? Can the half hour you have with them at night be all about fun and relaxing activities, such as books and coloring? Can you alter the kids' eating schedules so they get a meal in the late afternoon at daycare, so you don't have to deal with dinners when you get home?

I only mention this because in my experiences with children, they are often very cranky and tired for awhile after big schedule changes. But they also tend to surprise us by adjusting and adapting very well in the long-term.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2015, 10:40:50 AM »
Not really the exact same situation, but similar.  I had a job that was a regular 40 hours per week job- and really it was way more, I did so much working from home, it was making me miserable and anxious about getting the kids in bed so I could log on and work.  Anyway, my salary there was 89K, and about to turn over to 91K.  I left for a job that had a standard 37.5 hour workweek with little to no overtime.  The starting salary was $85K.  So I left the same week my new salary kicked in, effectively taking a $6K salary cut and $7K of unvested 401K match.  Best decision ever.  Between better benefits and fewer hours, I know I'm pulling in the same or more compensation per hour.  I did double my commute from 20 to 40 minutes, but the balance I experience in my life is phenomenal and well worth it.

I really take issue with HR wanting to cut your pay.  It might be a matter of vocabulary here, but you are essentially asking to work remotely 7.5 hours a week.  I wouldn't take a pay cut for that.   It really seems unfair.  I would say you want to work with HR on establishing a formal telecommuting "benefit" for employees, of course subject to manager and HR approval.  If you are really going to use all your banked hours, though, then maybe taking the pay cut is okay.  But you really have to use it all.  Essentially making it the same pay for reduced hours.  Just make sure you will really be allowed to do that.

I would absolutely use all of my banked hours.  DH's job is high stress and very macho, so him taking sick days for our kids is something that only happens when I'm traveling for work and my mom isn't available to help.  Not a single hour/day in my bank would go to waste.  OT also carries over from year to year (up to a capped maximum), so there's no fear of losing it.  If I were to quit, I would be sure to use them up first.

Ya, I for sure will talk to HR about negotiating a smaller cut.  Need to think of a good plan to convince them.

I'm glad you've found yourself a job that pays almost as well but causes less stress in your life.  That's awesome.

cerberusss

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2015, 10:46:17 AM »
Ya, I for sure will talk to HR about negotiating a smaller cut.  Need to think of a good plan to convince them.

If you'll use up all your banked days, I think you have a very nice deal. It's quite hard to find a part time job with a boss that understands the need for flexibility.

Take the pay cut. Who cares about the money? What you need with kids is a peaceful life.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2015, 10:48:30 AM »
I'd at least try to negotiate with HR, only because you will be putting in the same number of hours. For example, if they are stuck on you not being in the office as much, can you arrive early instead of working at home late at night? Can you come in on the weekend?

It just seems like you have nothing to lose by trying to work with HR. Worst-case, you accept what they are offering you right now. Best-case, you get to keep more money or find a better solution.

Also, how long have you been back? You may want to try a few other adjustments before accepting the 20% paycut, especially if you don't think HR will bump you back up to 100% if you regret your decision. Changes take time, and you might be surprised at how quickly you all can adjust.

For example, can bathtime be in the mornings? Can you have fun or relaxing songs or stories for the kids to listen to on the drive home? Can the half hour you have with them at night be all about fun and relaxing activities, such as books and coloring? Can you alter the kids' eating schedules so they get a meal in the late afternoon at daycare, so you don't have to deal with dinners when you get home?

I only mention this because in my experiences with children, they are often very cranky and tired for awhile after big schedule changes. But they also tend to surprise us by adjusting and adapting very well in the long-term.

I've only been back for 3 weeks.  I know that's a really short amount of time, but my head and my heart are telling me that I want to be home more for my kids.  I hate freaking out when the train is delayed, running to daycare, seeing that my kids are amongst the last to be picked up, and the DD being miserable all evening and not letting me put her down.  I know these things would get easier with time (or we'd just all get used to it), but knowing that I have an "out" makes it way too tempting to take.  If we were cash strapped I wouldn't even think of doing this because a cut just wouldn't be an option, but with DH's good income and our (relatively) good spending habits/frugal lifestyle, I feel like we deserve this little luxury of reducing my hours.  Sorry, I'm just typing/thinking out loud.

Mornings are already rushed as they are.  Kids are up between 6 and 6:30, and DH is out the door with them by 7:30, so I can't imagine fitting a bath in there, plus DH would hate that additional responsibility.  With my current schedule, there is no time for fun activities in the evening.  I start supper immediately (which is usually just re-heating something I made the night before, something from the slow cooker, or pasta), we eat, then it's either 15 mins of playtime or bath (both kids together).  DD goes to bed at 6pm (or as close to that as we can manage), and DS watches a TV show while I put her down, then I start cleaning the kitchen while he finishes his show.  Then it's time for him to go upstairs and getting ready for bed, read a story, then lights out at 7pm.  Eating dinner at daycare is not an option.

I do appreciate the suggestions though.

Kmp2

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2015, 11:10:18 AM »
I did this, I took a 20% pay cut and reduced my working hours to 32/week. I do eight hours on the week days (instead of the nine required by everyone else) and have every Friday off instead of every other Friday off. I willingly work their working Fridays when required for a deliverable, and pay for full time day care to do this, even though we don't utilize it most weeks. I am however allowed to get my bank time paid out, and in fact must once it exceeds 80 hours... I have never needed to because well sick days.

It was worth every penny! My days are less stressed and my weeks are more fulfilling with the balance.

Living on less then you earn, gives you the flexibility to slow down at times, sometimes the journey to FI is more important then getting there a few years faster.


Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2015, 11:19:11 AM »
I did this, I took a 20% pay cut and reduced my working hours to 32/week. I do eight hours on the week days (instead of the nine required by everyone else) and have every Friday off instead of every other Friday off. I willingly work their working Fridays when required for a deliverable, and pay for full time day care to do this, even though we don't utilize it most weeks. I am however allowed to get my bank time paid out, and in fact must once it exceeds 80 hours... I have never needed to because well sick days.

It was worth every penny! My days are less stressed and my weeks are more fulfilling with the balance.

Living on less then you earn, gives you the flexibility to slow down at times, sometimes the journey to FI is more important then getting there a few years faster.

Awesome.  So good to hear these words from someone who has done the same thing! Thank you.

Candace

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2015, 11:34:20 AM »
I just did something much like Kmp2. In fact, the ink is still drying on my deal. I'll be making 80% of my current salary and working four regular eight hour days a week. I'm ecstatic. I don't even have kids, and I have no problem giving up $20k a year to make my life closer to what I want, now.

Yes, my journey to FI might take a little longer. But I'll have more time NOW to live my life the way I want to, instead of being as constrained. Three days off a week is going to be so much better than two. I can't wait. I'll still be able to save over 30% of my take-home income, where currently I'm saving something between 50% and 55%.

To the OP, it sounds like the extra time would be worth the $10k a year. You may save more anyway, due to fewer costs incurred due to time constraints. Best of luck.

jzb11

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2015, 11:37:36 AM »
Why not take a 20% pay cut for 20% less time worked? Is that an option?

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2015, 11:42:10 AM »
I just did something much like Kmp2. In fact, the ink is still drying on my deal. I'll be making 80% of my current salary and working four regular eight hour days a week. I'm ecstatic. I don't even have kids, and I have no problem giving up $20k a year to make my life closer to what I want, now.

Yes, my journey to FI might take a little longer. But I'll have more time NOW to live my life the way I want to, instead of being as constrained. Three days off a week is going to be so much better than two. I can't wait. I'll still be able to save over 30% of my take-home income, where currently I'm saving something between 50% and 55%.

To the OP, it sounds like the extra time would be worth the $10k a year. You may save more anyway, due to fewer costs incurred due to time constraints. Best of luck.

Congrats to you and thanks for the feedback!

We don't have any costs related to time constraints short-cuts like eating out or having a cleaning lady, but I know what you mean.  Maybe there are some less obvious ones that I will notice later.  I know I will enjoy the extra time of getting to cook meals at supper time instead of prepping the night before, etc.  And maybe taking a pay cut will be the inspiration DH needs to quit buying his lunch every day (our constant battle)!

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2015, 11:43:31 AM »
Why not take a 20% pay cut for 20% less time worked? Is that an option?

It's an option and in busier times of my program cycles, I will probably do that.  But when things get busy (about 6 months/year), I will for sure need to work overtime.

Kitsune

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2015, 11:48:30 AM »
I just did - I went from 35 hours/week to 28 hours/week, working 2 days at home and 2 days at the office, with Fridays off. A few things:
- I took a 20% pay cut, but it's not a 20% cut on the post-tax amount I get. I'm in a high enough tax bracket that it's effectively a 11-12% pay cut off my actual paycheque, in exchange for working 20% less. I decided that that was a pretty great deal. (I'm also in Quebec, and our income taxes are pretty high... so check what the actual difference in the money you will dispose of will be. Might be less than 20%!)
- Quebec daycare is AWESOME. I also don't have it in me to be a stay-at-home-mom (no judging, just absolutely not what I want to do).

That said: if you're going to be working the same number of hours, accomplishing the same number of tasks, assigned the same number of projects, and just leaving the office earlier and then logging on later in the day, then that's not a 20% reduction in hours and is absolutely not worth a 20% pay cut. Suggestion: instead of phrasing it as a reduction in hours (which, based on what you're saying, it's not), suggest it as a partial working-from-home arrangement. No reduction, just a change in location for the same hours and same work. Because volunteering to do the same work for lower pay is kinda shooting yourself in the foot (especially when you interview for your next job and they ask the 'how much are you making' question, which is BS but so many companies do it).

lhamo

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2015, 11:55:20 AM »
Is there any way you could find a "mother's helper" type person (maybe a responsible high schooler or college student) to handle the daycare pickup and watching the kids for an hour or two until you get home?  That way you could use your ride on the train to unwind a bit (read, listen to podcasts, etc) and not have to be so stressed about getting to daycare on time.  Disadvantage is that you don't get to check in with staff about how their day went, but you could come up with a system for the helper to do that and relay any relevant information to you. 

I would try to set something like that up and see how it goes before agreeing to do the same amount of work for less pay.  I learned a hard lesson on that front --- went PT after the birth of my second at the suggestion of my employer, to 60% FTE.  Great in principal, but in reality my workload probably only decreased 10-15%.  And then when I decided to go back to full time they tried to cut my base rate by 25%.  I fought it and won, clawing my FT rate back to what it had been before I went PT, but the writing was on the wall and I left not too long after that. 


formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2015, 12:07:05 PM »
I would not take a 20% pay cut if I were expected to maintain the same workload.

This should be phrased to HR as a telecommuting arrangement.  If they insist on the pay cut, then I would negotiate a lower workload and/or increased sick/vacation time.  If this is not in writing, then you may well find your boss saying "no" when you ask to take comp time, because the workload is heavy/it's too busy.  Or, if your manager leaves for whatever reason, the new one would likely not respect this arrangement.

It may be better to look for another job closer to home or that is specifically part time.

Guesl982374

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2015, 12:44:17 PM »
Ceridwen, what about shifting your hours especially given that DH covers the mornings with the kids? I wouldn't even ask for permission, I would show up an hour early and leave an hour early. You'd maintain 100% pay, and get home early to get your kids. As long as you are getting your work done, most managers don't care if you shift your hours slightly.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2015, 01:03:23 PM »
I just did - I went from 35 hours/week to 28 hours/week, working 2 days at home and 2 days at the office, with Fridays off. A few things:
- I took a 20% pay cut, but it's not a 20% cut on the post-tax amount I get. I'm in a high enough tax bracket that it's effectively a 11-12% pay cut off my actual paycheque, in exchange for working 20% less. I decided that that was a pretty great deal. (I'm also in Quebec, and our income taxes are pretty high... so check what the actual difference in the money you will dispose of will be. Might be less than 20%!)
- Quebec daycare is AWESOME. I also don't have it in me to be a stay-at-home-mom (no judging, just absolutely not what I want to do).

That said: if you're going to be working the same number of hours, accomplishing the same number of tasks, assigned the same number of projects, and just leaving the office earlier and then logging on later in the day, then that's not a 20% reduction in hours and is absolutely not worth a 20% pay cut. Suggestion: instead of phrasing it as a reduction in hours (which, based on what you're saying, it's not), suggest it as a partial working-from-home arrangement. No reduction, just a change in location for the same hours and same work. Because volunteering to do the same work for lower pay is kinda shooting yourself in the foot (especially when you interview for your next job and they ask the 'how much are you making' question, which is BS but so many companies do it).

Thanks! Nice to meet another local mom in a similar situation.  You're right, it won't actually be a 20% cut after taxes.  And you're also right - I need to re-phrase this when I talk to HR.  I'm not reducing the number of hours I work - I'm just working from home 20% of the time.  If my request had to been to work from home 1 day per week (which is exactly what it works out as in time %), I would not be taking a pay cut.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2015, 01:04:59 PM »
Is there any way you could find a "mother's helper" type person (maybe a responsible high schooler or college student) to handle the daycare pickup and watching the kids for an hour or two until you get home?  That way you could use your ride on the train to unwind a bit (read, listen to podcasts, etc) and not have to be so stressed about getting to daycare on time.  Disadvantage is that you don't get to check in with staff about how their day went, but you could come up with a system for the helper to do that and relay any relevant information to you. 

I would try to set something like that up and see how it goes before agreeing to do the same amount of work for less pay.  I learned a hard lesson on that front --- went PT after the birth of my second at the suggestion of my employer, to 60% FTE.  Great in principal, but in reality my workload probably only decreased 10-15%.  And then when I decided to go back to full time they tried to cut my base rate by 25%.  I fought it and won, clawing my FT rate back to what it had been before I went PT, but the writing was on the wall and I left not too long after that.

That would be an option, but not one I'm overly keen on.  More than anything, I want to have more time to spend at home with my kids, so the only solution to that is spending less time at the office.

Your cautionary tale is exactly what I'm afraid of.  Thanks for sharing.  I've got a lot to think about.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2015, 01:06:20 PM »
I would not take a 20% pay cut if I were expected to maintain the same workload.

This should be phrased to HR as a telecommuting arrangement.  If they insist on the pay cut, then I would negotiate a lower workload and/or increased sick/vacation time.  If this is not in writing, then you may well find your boss saying "no" when you ask to take comp time, because the workload is heavy/it's too busy.  Or, if your manager leaves for whatever reason, the new one would likely not respect this arrangement.

It may be better to look for another job closer to home or that is specifically part time.

Yep, this is what is becoming a lot clearer to me after posting.  You guys are great.  And yes, I would be totally vulnerable if my boss ever changed.

I am for sure keeping an eye out for "real" part-time work.  Thanks a lot for your feedback.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2015, 01:08:31 PM »
Ceridwen, what about shifting your hours especially given that DH covers the mornings with the kids? I wouldn't even ask for permission, I would show up an hour early and leave an hour early. You'd maintain 100% pay, and get home early to get your kids. As long as you are getting your work done, most managers don't care if you shift your hours slightly.

That's a possibility, but it doesn't address the real problem, which is that I want to be home more with my kids.  I like spending a bit of time with them in the morning.  I know a lot of parents do this, but I would have a really hard time seeing them for the first time only in the afternoon.  The thought of that kinda breaks my heart.

Also, I know DH wouldn't like that.  He's "in charge" in the mornings as far as the kids go, but I do help out a lot (especially with our youngest) and I know he appreciates that.  He has a really stressful job, so I don't want his mornings at home to be stressful for him.

mm1970

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2015, 02:21:59 PM »
Well, in short: no.

I've worked pt (20% less than ft) twice, when I had my kids.  It was glorious!

I did take a paycut.

But I did not work at home. I  took a paycut to do less work.  I would not take a paycut if I was still required to make up stuff at home.

However, if you expect your "at home" hours to be minimal (like 1 or 2 a week), and easy to take as "time off", then I'd do it - because you really wouldn't be working 40 hours.

AZDude

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2015, 02:26:21 PM »
Why not take a 20% pay cut for 20% less time worked? Is that an option?

It's an option and in busier times of my program cycles, I will probably do that.  But when things get busy (about 6 months/year), I will for sure need to work overtime.

Don't ever work overtime unless you are getting overtime pay. One day you will look back at your life and think "I wished I spent more time with my kids when they were little." You will never look back and think "I wish I worked more hours for free so the executives could make more money off my hard work and sacrifice".

FrugalFan

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Re: Would you take a pay cut?
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2015, 08:04:18 PM »
This is something I am considering as well. I just returned from my second parental leave this summer and it has been tough. My littlest one has been sick almost every week since starting daycare! As the others have cautioned, I would not work at home for less pay though. However, I would be happy to trade off for more vacation time (in writing) or just less work for less pay. I think it would stress me out to need to work once the kids are in bed (though I often do anyway, nature of my job, but no one is watching over me. I just have to do it so I am prepared to teach the next day or when I have a big grant deadline or a manuscript due or something). The hard part for me is that our expenses are so high right now with full time daycare for two kids (no subsidized daycare in Ontario), that I don't want to hurt our savings rate too much. On the other hand, when the kids are older and both in school, they may not need me as much. I'm definitely still adjusting from being off work, but I'm not sure the current situation is the best going forward. 

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2015, 10:35:19 AM »
Updated in original post.

lhamo

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Re: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2015, 12:38:37 PM »
Congratulations on your negotiation skills!  I also worked for one of those "If we do this for you..." bosses/organizations, so appreciate how hard it is to get some flexibility.

Suggestion:  Frontload your extra 30 minutes of work by checking email (and strategically responding to messages from your boss and other powers that be) on the train in the morning, if at all possible.  Then when you are done for the day you are done for the day and you don't have to worry about fitting that extra 30 minutes in around your family life.  Will also help you prioritize/hit the ground running when you arrive at the office. 

Hope the new schedule proves to be great for you, your family and your organization.  Why more employers don't help their employees maximize their productivity is a mystery to me, but maybe you can blaze a path here.

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2015, 06:49:21 AM »
Congratulations on your negotiation skills!  I also worked for one of those "If we do this for you..." bosses/organizations, so appreciate how hard it is to get some flexibility.

Suggestion:  Frontload your extra 30 minutes of work by checking email (and strategically responding to messages from your boss and other powers that be) on the train in the morning, if at all possible.  Then when you are done for the day you are done for the day and you don't have to worry about fitting that extra 30 minutes in around your family life.  Will also help you prioritize/hit the ground running when you arrive at the office. 

Hope the new schedule proves to be great for you, your family and your organization.  Why more employers don't help their employees maximize their productivity is a mystery to me, but maybe you can blaze a path here.

Thank you, and good advice! Yes, I had a lot of colleagues quietly cheering me on through this process.  I hope this opens the door to more flexibility for everyone.

mm1970

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Re: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2015, 10:18:57 AM »
Congratulations on your negotiation skills!  I also worked for one of those "If we do this for you..." bosses/organizations, so appreciate how hard it is to get some flexibility.

Suggestion:  Frontload your extra 30 minutes of work by checking email (and strategically responding to messages from your boss and other powers that be) on the train in the morning, if at all possible.  Then when you are done for the day you are done for the day and you don't have to worry about fitting that extra 30 minutes in around your family life.  Will also help you prioritize/hit the ground running when you arrive at the office. 

Hope the new schedule proves to be great for you, your family and your organization.  Why more employers don't help their employees maximize their productivity is a mystery to me, but maybe you can blaze a path here.

Thank you, and good advice! Yes, I had a lot of colleagues quietly cheering me on through this process.  I hope this opens the door to more flexibility for everyone.
That would be pretty awesome.  So much pressure, though, no?

When I had my first child at my last job (9+ years ago), I wanted to work part time.  My boss said "sure, let's demote you".  So I said "nevermind".

But when my son was 1, my boss left.  My new boss said "fine".  So from age 17 months till...? (I'll get to that), I was part time.  Note, I was the first woman ever at the small office (30 people) of this company to ever have a baby.  So, it was new to them, this whole "mom with a baby" thing (there were two mothers there with older children). 

One of my coworkers had a baby about 6 weeks after me.  She switched to part time also.  She moved into managing government contract work.

Fast forward to when my son was a little over 2.  I was getting bored and thinking of changing jobs, but enjoyed my PT gig (30 hrs a week).  Then the parent company shuts my group down (5 of us).  They offered me a job across the country (no thanks), then offered us all spots in the current spot, just for a different group. Great.  Not even 2 hours later the "new" boss wanders by my cube to say "by the way, I don't believe in PT work, so consider me the bearer of bad news."

That started the conversation ...
Me: "But MH works part time."
New Boss: "She's not a technical employee"
Me: "She has a PhD in engineering"
NB: "Well, she's not in the critical path"
Me: "But I've been doing it for over a year and it works just fine.  Ask my boss, or my coworkers"
NB: "Sorry, I still don't believe in it"

So let's move up the chain to my new VP (my old VP worked in the other state)
Me: "I don't want to go back to Full time"
VP: "It shouldn't be too bad"
Me: "it's 10 hours a week"
VP: "What if we let you work whatever hours you want?"
Me: "I already do that"

Well, within a week I called my old boss who'd left (who wouldn't let me go part time) and lined up a new job, working part time.  I think the old company really didn't expect me to leave.  In the end, they were fine with it because the other engineer was still there (what they didn't know is that he was also leaving).

So that's one working mother down.

Then my very good friend marries and has a baby.  She asks to work PT.  They agree.  And EVEN agree to let her work 25 hours a week (she wanted 20).  Part of the conversation went like this:
"Yeah, we didn't handle that other situation that well." (meaning mine)  At least they realized they  made a mistake.

Well, they started pressuring my friend to go back to full time, right around when she was losing her child care.  So, she quit.
They also started pressuring the "non-technical PhD" into doing more work, to the point that her hours crept up to 40, or 50, and she was traveling a lot.  After requesting a reduction in workload, and not getting it, she quit.

That's 3 working mothers down and out.

At this point, there has been one new working mother. She was an intern when I was there, and went FT when she graduated and after I left.  Her baby is around 1 year old, and she works half time.  And they aren't pressuring her to go FT!

There's another working mother of a school aged child, and they've allowed her to adjust her FT hours (she prefers FT) to start at 6 and end by 2 so that she can pick her son up at school.

Baby steps?  But it's been 9.5 years.  It's glacial.


Of course, lather, rinse, repeat at the new company.  I started PT, then went to FT, then had another baby and went back to PT, then got pressured again into FT.  I'm the only woman to have a baby here.  There was one other (a PhD), but she left very shortly after to take a teaching position out of state.

FrugalFan

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Re: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2015, 11:32:22 AM »
Congratulations on your negotiation skills!  I also worked for one of those "If we do this for you..." bosses/organizations, so appreciate how hard it is to get some flexibility.

Suggestion:  Frontload your extra 30 minutes of work by checking email (and strategically responding to messages from your boss and other powers that be) on the train in the morning, if at all possible.  Then when you are done for the day you are done for the day and you don't have to worry about fitting that extra 30 minutes in around your family life.  Will also help you prioritize/hit the ground running when you arrive at the office. 

Hope the new schedule proves to be great for you, your family and your organization.  Why more employers don't help their employees maximize their productivity is a mystery to me, but maybe you can blaze a path here.

Thank you, and good advice! Yes, I had a lot of colleagues quietly cheering me on through this process.  I hope this opens the door to more flexibility for everyone.
That would be pretty awesome.  So much pressure, though, no?

When I had my first child at my last job (9+ years ago), I wanted to work part time.  My boss said "sure, let's demote you".  So I said "nevermind".

But when my son was 1, my boss left.  My new boss said "fine".  So from age 17 months till...? (I'll get to that), I was part time.  Note, I was the first woman ever at the small office (30 people) of this company to ever have a baby.  So, it was new to them, this whole "mom with a baby" thing (there were two mothers there with older children). 

One of my coworkers had a baby about 6 weeks after me.  She switched to part time also.  She moved into managing government contract work.

Fast forward to when my son was a little over 2.  I was getting bored and thinking of changing jobs, but enjoyed my PT gig (30 hrs a week).  Then the parent company shuts my group down (5 of us).  They offered me a job across the country (no thanks), then offered us all spots in the current spot, just for a different group. Great.  Not even 2 hours later the "new" boss wanders by my cube to say "by the way, I don't believe in PT work, so consider me the bearer of bad news."

That started the conversation ...
Me: "But MH works part time."
New Boss: "She's not a technical employee"
Me: "She has a PhD in engineering"
NB: "Well, she's not in the critical path"
Me: "But I've been doing it for over a year and it works just fine.  Ask my boss, or my coworkers"
NB: "Sorry, I still don't believe in it"

So let's move up the chain to my new VP (my old VP worked in the other state)
Me: "I don't want to go back to Full time"
VP: "It shouldn't be too bad"
Me: "it's 10 hours a week"
VP: "What if we let you work whatever hours you want?"
Me: "I already do that"

Well, within a week I called my old boss who'd left (who wouldn't let me go part time) and lined up a new job, working part time.  I think the old company really didn't expect me to leave.  In the end, they were fine with it because the other engineer was still there (what they didn't know is that he was also leaving).

So that's one working mother down.

Then my very good friend marries and has a baby.  She asks to work PT.  They agree.  And EVEN agree to let her work 25 hours a week (she wanted 20).  Part of the conversation went like this:
"Yeah, we didn't handle that other situation that well." (meaning mine)  At least they realized they  made a mistake.

Well, they started pressuring my friend to go back to full time, right around when she was losing her child care.  So, she quit.
They also started pressuring the "non-technical PhD" into doing more work, to the point that her hours crept up to 40, or 50, and she was traveling a lot.  After requesting a reduction in workload, and not getting it, she quit.

That's 3 working mothers down and out.

At this point, there has been one new working mother. She was an intern when I was there, and went FT when she graduated and after I left.  Her baby is around 1 year old, and she works half time.  And they aren't pressuring her to go FT!

There's another working mother of a school aged child, and they've allowed her to adjust her FT hours (she prefers FT) to start at 6 and end by 2 so that she can pick her son up at school.

Baby steps?  But it's been 9.5 years.  It's glacial.


Of course, lather, rinse, repeat at the new company.  I started PT, then went to FT, then had another baby and went back to PT, then got pressured again into FT.  I'm the only woman to have a baby here.  There was one other (a PhD), but she left very shortly after to take a teaching position out of state.

Good for you for pushing those boundaries!

Ceridwen

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Re: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2015, 01:22:03 PM »
Awesome @mm1970! Thanks for sharing.  It is indeed a glacial pace. 

The conversations I had with HR (a ~50 YO woman with 3 grown kids) were rather infuriating.

"You don't know how lucky you young women have it".  I don't think luck has much to do with it.  It's about women standing up for themselves and trying to find compromises that work for them and their families, and future (very grateful) generations continuing to build on that progress. 

"There is no such thing as work-life balance".  Really? REALLY? Can we not even try?

mm1970

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Re: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2015, 02:23:49 PM »
Awesome @mm1970! Thanks for sharing.  It is indeed a glacial pace. 

The conversations I had with HR (a ~50 YO woman with 3 grown kids) were rather infuriating.

"You don't know how lucky you young women have it".  I don't think luck has much to do with it.  It's about women standing up for themselves and trying to find compromises that work for them and their families, and future (very grateful) generations continuing to build on that progress. 

"There is no such thing as work-life balance".  Really? REALLY? Can we not even try?
Yes, that is maddening!

"You're so lucky!"
Screw you.  I realize that it was different for you, but the whole point here is to make it better for everyone, no?  I don't care if you had to work full time with 3 kids and stretched yourself too thin, let's move on from there.  It's the whole "I paid my dues and you MUST do the same!" attitude.  Ugh.

It both helps and hurts me that I'm in my mid-40's.  I've had a couple of managers only concerned with what I get accomplished.  And others that only care that you are in the office "X" number of hours, or attending every meeting at 7 am and 6 pm.

My first "mentor" was a woman 8 years older than I was.  She had it rougher than I did for sure (this was in the Navy and later, for her, as a civilian employee).  She had a baby and managed to negotiate extra time off after maternity leave, and time to ease her way back in as part time, and time to do some work at home.  (This was the mid 90's).  There were only 8 women engineers in the whole organization.

As she moved up the chain, so to speak, she asked upper management what she needed to do to get promoted to GS...14? 15?  I don't remember.  See, they only awarded a certain number a year, and that year, someone junior to her in a different group was promoted.  The response "You dual career couples have it so easy."  "Waaaait, a minute.  Are you telling me that I'm not getting promoted because I have a husband?"  "oh no, no no, I didn't mean that".  She went on to be the first (and only so far) female director/ SES at that organization.

JordanOfGilead

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Re: Would you take a pay cut? (Updated)
« Reply #39 on: November 19, 2015, 11:31:08 AM »
Didn't read all of the replies (the last one seemed a little hostile though), but if the income isn't essential to your survival and wouldn't greatly affect your plans for the future, I say take the time at home.
I know if I wasn't still paying off debt, I would absolutely take a 20% reduction in pay to be able to spend 20% more time away from work.