First of all, there is no such thing like “full time salary”. Each employee’s salary is negotiated individually. At least this is the common practice in Bulgaria but I believe that the same method is applied all over the world. The times of the “developed socialism” when all the people had the same salaries are far behind in the past. Currently in the most software companies in Bulgaria the ratio between the lowest and the biggest salary for a software developer is between 2:1 and 3:1. Which means that for a full working day and for 40-hour week one person gets 500 Euro and another gets 1000 Euro (for example).
Why is that? Simply, because one person is considered more qualified and more productive than the other. We know from Steve McConnell’s books that there is a difference of 10:1 in software developers’ productivity and we accept a difference of 2:1 or 3:1 in salary (which I think is not so fair if the productivity is bigger). So why is it so impossible to accept a situation where one person’s salary is equal to another person’s salary but the working time is twice shorter? In my opinion this is quite normal if the first employee is twice (or more) more productive than the second one.
Another point that is not taken in consideration (especially by Pawel): It is not said anywhere that the person is a software developer. The original case is about an employee of unknown specialty. But even in the software development there are several roles that do not require the person to be full time at the office: sales agents, business analysts, deployment and user training specialists, etc. By definition, these people are required to spend a lot of time at customer’s site so they usually don’t stay at the office regularly and their absence will not hurt the team spirit. An employee like Albert in the given example may very well fit one of these roles and be hired on a half time if he is able to do his tasks.
I still believe that if we are flexible enough in our thinking we can achieve better results. We should not obey all the traditions just because they are traditions. We should use them selectively and to pick only those which can help us achieve our goals.