If I ask to go part-time in order so thatI can go back to school part-time, can my employer fire me?

UPDATED: Aug 29, 2011

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If I ask to go part-time in order so thatI can go back to school part-time, can my employer fire me?

I work in federal assisted housing through HUD for elderly and disabled people. I was promised a certification that the company would pay for and after a year of working here it has not happened yet. I want to go back to school for para-legal studies, and want to work part-time, while in school. I was hired full-time but most the time I am sitting here with nothing to do, I could do the same job part time. I really just want to make sure I will still have a job if I ask to go part-time.

Asked on August 29, 2011 Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

An employer is under no obligation to allow someone to change their status from full time to part time--even if it's for a good reason (e.g. to go to school) or the person doesn't have full  time work. So yes, unless you have an employment contract protecting your right to work or limiting the grounds for firing you, you could be fired if you ask for this; of course, if you don't have an employment contract, you could most likely be fired more or less at any time, if the employer wants to (such as if they decide they don't need you or your position).

Have you considered trying to go to school at night? Or a weekend program (there are some, to accomodate people with full-time jobs)? Or an internet/online/distance learning program? Even though it would be alot of work, to pursue a degree while working full time, if you're fortunate enough to have a not-too-demanding full time job, you   may wish to keep it while going to school in your off hours. If you ever do get fired or have your hours cut back, then you can always increase your attendence.


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