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How do I discuss returning to full-time after an absence?

By Experience

Returning to full-time after an absence can mean changes in your compensation plan. Be sure to negotiate for the benefits and perks reserved for full-time employees, while keeping in mind the number of hours you'll be expected to work.

Q. After leaving my company to handle family matters for about 10 months, I was called in to discuss a more flexible, seasonal schedule. I returned to work part-time, with no benefits, and on an hourly basis, working three days a week in the slow season (seven months of the year) and six days during the busy season (the remaining five months). Now, my employer would like me to work 32 hours weekly with full-time benefits. Should I also ask for an hourly raise? Or, do I work "day rate" as some in my company do? Or, do I go back to salary? I have a Master's degree, have been with the company for five years (not including the year off), and my sales skills are in demand.

A. The fact that you will receive full-time benefits tells me your company is probably going to treat you as a full-time employee. I think part of your question is can you work as an hourly employee but receive full-time benefits.

Before you go in and request for a raise ask to see the descriptions of the benefits plans being offered under by your company. Find out how many hours a week you have to work for you to be eligible for full-time benefits. Once your benefits have been clarified you can then address your cash compensation.

Most companies pay their part-time employees a competitive hourly rate regardless of the hours they work. To determine your market value, go to your Human Resources Department and ask to see your job description and learn the requirements for your job. Based on your company's description I would go to the Salary Wizard and match it against the different descriptions on the site. Once you have found a job that matches yours by at least 70 percent, I would suggest creating a Personal Salary Report and learning how your experience, education, and past performance affects your market value. Based on the required experience and skills for your particular job, and your value as described by the Personal Salary Report, you should then have a discussion with your employer about your base pay.

Good luck.

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