Human Resources

Flexwork policy and process

University policy permits employees to have a flexwork arrangement when the employee’s supervisor (or other designated official) evaluates the flexwork request and approves it.

When evaluating the request, the supervisor must determine that the employee can effectively perform the job duties of the position while flexworking. The supervisor must also determine that the flexwork arrangement conforms with applicable regulations, policies, and collective bargaining agreements.

Requests to flexwork as a disability accommodation are handled through a separate process.

What is flexwork?

A flexwork arrangement is a work plan that differs from the standard workweek. A standard workweek consists of five consecutive eight-hour workdays and consistent start and end times for each workday.

Typically, an employee will request a flexwork arrangement (though sometimes it’s a condition of employment).

Supervisors must carefully evaluate the feasibility of a proposed flexwork arrangement before approving it. The arrangement is intended to benefit the employee without unduly burdening unit operations.

To help ensure that the employee continues working effectively under a flexwork arrangement, supervisors should develop a telework plan. With a good plan in place, flexwork can benefit the employee, the team, and the University in general. Flexwork often improves job satisfaction by increasing job flexibility. It also helps recruit and retain employees.

Types of flexwork arrangements

There are two general types of flexwork arrangements:

  • Alternative work arrangements
  • Flexible work arrangements

An alternative work arrangement is defined as a regular, recurring work schedule that is anything other than five consecutive eight-hour work days — for example, working four consecutive ten-hour workdays during the week.

In a flexible work arrangement, the employee works a consistent number of hours each day. However, the employee’s start and end time vary, within a specified range, around a fixed set of core hours.

For example, for an employee working eight-hour days (plus a lunch hour), the employee is always at work during the core hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The employee’s start and end times, however, vary from day to day. On Monday, the employee might work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. while on Tuesday the employee works from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

While there can be combinations of flexible and alternative work arrangements, particularly complex or unusual schedules can pose challenges that the supervisor should consider before approving the arrangement, especially for overtime eligible employees. Time keeping and leave tracking can be more complex, as can arranging coverage during absences.

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Flexwork evaluation process

As a supervisor, you make the final decision about an employee’s flexwork request after evaluating its feasibility.

You should work with the employee to evaluate the proposal. Additionally, assess how the flexwork arrangement affects your role as a supervisor and the rest of your unit. Identify any potential issues and ways to address those issues.

Determine employee readiness for flexwork

Employee work styles and job duties vary. Some employees or positions may be better suited for a flexwork arrangement than others. So when evaluating a flexwork request, consider how well the employee has demonstrated the skills and work habits that lead to a successful flexwork arrangement including the employee’s:

  • Current productivity and past history of success
  • Punctuality and ability to adhere to a work schedule and report absences from work
  • Ability to accomplish job duties that could be affected by daily or weekly task-specific deadlines
  • Remaining probationary or trial period that needs to be completed
  • Overtime eligibility
Determine team and unit readiness for flexwork

After determining that an employee is likely to succeed in a flexwork arrangement, assess how well the rest of the department or unit will function when an employee begins the flexwork arrangement, including:

  • Anticipated benefits to the team
  • Anticipated changes to team dynamics
  • Backup personnel necessary when the flexwork employee is out
  • Effects on team goals and commitments

Ultimately, you need to determine the work configuration that functions best for your team. Each team is different. Some teams are successful with frequent flexwork among team members. Other teams must limit the amount of flexwork. If unsure about what will work best, start with limited flexwork options for a team then make changes after gaining experience.

Consider whether a flexwork arrangement will affect:

  • Costs, customer service, safety, and security
  • Time and leave record keeping, especially holiday-related leave accounting
  • Equipment and technology needs
Respond to the flexwork request

If you approve the flexwork request, your next step is to document the flexwork agreement.

If you’re unsure that the proposed flexwork arrangement can be successful, consider allowing the employee to flexwork on a pilot basis. Designate an initial review period after which you will make a final decision on the arrangement.

If you cannot approve the flexwork request, explain your decision based on both the proposal’s impact on department operations and, if relevant, the employee’s work record in your department.

Document the flexwork agreement

After approving a flexwork request, document the flexwork agreement. The purpose of the flexwork agreement is to ensure that both the supervisor and the employee have a clear, common understanding of the flexwork arrangement. At a minimum, the agreement should define:

  • The work schedule that specifies flexwork days and times
  • The duration of the flexwork arrangement
  • How the flexwork arrangement may be terminated
  • When the employee is required to be in the office

The agreement should state that the arrangement is subject to revision based on departmental work requirements. It should also state that continuation of the flexwork arrangement is contingent upon it working effectively for both the employee and the department.

Once you finalize the agreement, give a copy to the employee and place a copy in the employee’s department file.

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Flexwork examples

The examples below illustrate possible flexwork arrangements for classified and professional employees. The details of each example differ depending on whether the employee is overtime eligible or overtime exempt.

Overtime eligible employees

Alternative work plans have different characteristics than flexible work plans.

Alternative work plan characteristics:

  • A specified total number of hours that the employee is scheduled to work each week based on the position’s percent time
  • A regularly repeating weekly work schedule that is anything other than five uniform and consecutive eight hour days in a seven day period (for full time employees)
  • A specified work period for each day that the employee is scheduled to work

Flexible work plan characteristics:

  • A specified total number of hours that the employee is scheduled to work each week based on the position’s percent time
  • A specified total number of work hours each work day
  • A daily “core work period” during which the employee is expected to be at work
  • A variable daily start time that begins within a set period of time
  • A variable daily end time that depends on that day’s start time
Example 1: Alternative work plan – overtime eligible employees
Percent time: Work hours:
100% = 40 hours per week 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday (1/2 hour lunch)
Example 2: Alternative work plan – overtime eligible employees
Percent time: Work hours:
80% = 32 hours per week 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Wednesday (1/2 hour lunch)

8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday (no lunch)

Example 3: Flexible work plan – overtime eligible employees
Percent time: Core hours: Work start time: Work end time:
100% = 40 hours per week 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (1 hour lunch) Between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Example 4: Flexible work plan – overtime eligible employees
Percent time: Core hours: Work start time: Work end time:
90% = 36 hours per week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday (1 hour lunch)

8 a.m. to Noon Friday (no lunch)

Between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday Between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday
Overtime exempt employees

Alternative work plans have different characteristics than flexible work plans.

Alternative work plan characteristics:

  • A minimum average weekly work hour expectation based on the position’s percent time
  • A regularly repeating work plan that consists of anything other than five consecutive approximately equal work days
  • The employee’s alternative work plan may have to be adjusted as necessary to meet the position’s work requirements

Flexible work plan characteristics:

  • A minimum weekly work hour expectation based on the position’s percent time
  • A daily “core work period” during which the employee is expected to be at work
  • A variable daily start time that begins within a set period of time
  • A variable daily end time that takes the day’s start time into consideration, however employees are expected to work whatever time is necessary to accomplish work goals
  • The employee’s flexible work plan may have to be adjusted as necessary to meet the position’s work requirements
Example 5: Alternative work plan – overtime exempt employees
Percent time: Work plan:
100% 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday (1/2 hour lunch)
Adjustments to start and end time may be necessary to meet work requirements.
Example 6: Alternative work plan – overtime exempt employees
Percent time: Work plan:
80% 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Wednesday (1/2 hour lunch)
8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday (no lunch).
Adjustments to start and end time may be necessary to meet work requirements.
Example 7: Flexible work plan – overtime exempt employees
Percent time: Core work period: Work start time: Work end time:
100% 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (1 hour lunch) Generally between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Generally between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Adjustments to start and end time may be necessary to meet work requirements.
Example 8: Flexible work plan – overtime exempt employees
Percent time: Core work period: Work start time: Work end time:
90% 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday (1 hour lunch)
and 8 a.m. to noon Friday (no lunch)
Generally between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday Generally between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Adjustments to start and end time may be necessary to meet work requirements.

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Holiday leave record keeping

For a full-time employee a holiday is worth eight hours. For part-time employees, the holiday hour value is prorated based on the employee’s percent of full time.

If a holiday falls on a day the employee is scheduled to work fewer hours than the value of the holiday, the employee receives holiday credit for the difference. This results in holiday credit hours that the employee can arrange to take off at a later date.

If a holiday falls on a day that the employee is scheduled to work more hours than the value of the holiday, the employee will “owe” the University the difference in time between the hour value of the holiday and the hours the employee was scheduled to work. The following table provides examples of these holiday time keeping considerations.

All classified and professional staff
Employment
category
Holiday and work day relationship Effect on employee
 All Classified & Professional Staff Holiday falls on the employee’s scheduled day off The employee receives a holiday credit for the day that can be used on a later date. The holiday credit is eight (8) hours for full time employees or prorated for part-time employees
 All Classified & Professional Staff Holiday falls on the employee’s scheduled work day that is shorter than the holiday the employee is eligible to receive (See note below) The employee takes the holiday off and receives a holiday credit for the difference in time between the value of the holiday and the length of the scheduled work day
 Overtime Eligible Classified Staff Employee is assigned to work on a scheduled holiday The employee receives the regular day’s pay plus premium pay at time and one-half for all hours worked on the holiday.

Supervisors may approve an employee’s request for compensatory time off instead of monetary payment.

 Overtime Eligible Professional Staff Employee is assigned to work on a scheduled holiday The employee receives the regular day’s pay. The employee receives one day of holiday credit, based on FTE, to be taken at another time. There is no premium pay. If working on the holiday results in the employee working more than 40 hours in the work week, the employee receives overtime for hours worked over 40
Overtime Eligible Classified & Professional Staff Full time employee works four 10 hour days on an alternative work schedule. The holiday falls on a day that the employee is scheduled to work The employee is off work for 10 hours but the holiday is only valued at eight (8) hours to the full-time employee. The employee owes two (2) hours of time that may be taken from vacation leave or accumulated compensatory time, if any
Overtime Exempt Classified & Professional Staff Holiday falls on a work day that is longer than the amount of holiday time off the employee receives (See note below) The employee takes the holiday off and may either adjust his/her work effort to make up for the difference, OR have the difference in time between the employee’s scheduled work time on the day and the value of the holiday deducted from the employee’s vacation leave balance.

The difference in time between the employee’s scheduled work time and the value of the holiday may not be recorded as leave without pay.

Overtime Exempt Classified & Professional Staff Employee is assigned to work on a holiday The employee receives the regular day’s pay and eight hours of holiday credit for a full-time employee (prorated for a part-time employee)

Note: Holiday time off is based on the employee’s full time equivalent: eight (8) hours for a full-time employee, prorated for a part-time employee..

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