SIUE Alternate Work Schedule Program Guide
Civil Service, Professional and Administrative Staff
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The purpose of the Alternative Work Schedule Guide is to provide information and guidance as it relates towards the development and subsequent approval of alternate work schedules to include flex time and compressed work schedules/weeks, how departments/full time employees participate, and resources for participating employees and their supervisors.
Alternative work schedules are not an employee entitlement and may be modified or discontinued by the appropriate supervisory authority and department head. The Vice Chancellor will forward the approval, for final review, to the Office of Human Resources.
Flex time is an arrangement that may include a consistent daily schedule with individualized starting and ending times that are the same throughout the week, or a varying daily schedule that starts or ends at different times each day. The varying daily schedule may include a consistent 7.5/8 hour day throughout the week, or a varying daily schedule of more or less than 7.5/8 hours. For full-time employees, the total weekly hours for both consistent and varying schedules must be 37.5 (or 40) for the workweek (Monday through Friday).
A compressed workweek is an arrangement that enables a full time employee to complete the basic workweek requirement of 37.5 (or in some cases 40) hours in less than five full days in exchange for a shorter day or a day off each week. Compressed workweek schedules include the following examples:
- A four day workweek where 37.5 hours are worked in four days with no work on the fifth day.
- Four ten (10) hour days with no work on the fifth day.
Alternative work schedules are agreed-upon work hours that differ from the standard practice. They are options that enable full time employees to continue to meet the business needs of departments while allowing the opportunity to complete work in an alternative manner. The possibility to participate in an alternative work schedule is provided in an effort to afford full time employees the opportunity to better balance competing demands on their time both personally and professionally.
The business needs of the division, department, and University will continue to be the primary focus and must guide the various arrangements as well as the number of full time employees who will be eligible for participation in the alternative work program.
Decisions on proposals are determined on a case-by-case basis and are based upon appropriate supervisor and department head approval. Supervisors are encouraged to use the worksheet that is provided to assist full time employees in identifying and considering all of the variables surrounding alternative work schedules.
Supervisors evaluating whether an alternative work schedule is a feasible option need to consider the following issues:
- Performance and Attendance - An employee's current performance evaluation must be at a "Satisfactory" level or above, and attendance records must not show a pattern of absences or tardiness.
- How/why - A supervisor must show how the arrangement will meet the business needs of the department.
- What is the impact on work volume, peak periods, and/or overtime in the employee's work group?
- ow flexible can an employee be if business needs change?
- Clarify accountabilities. Who are the customers? How will they be affected?
Alternative Work Schedule Standard Practice
Work schedules, once identified, will be maintained for a maximum of six (6) months. Upon expiration of the proposed time period, the department/employee will return to the original work schedule unless there is a request to extend the alternative work schedule. Alternative work schedules may be extended for six (6) months at a time with no limit on the number of extensions requested. As stated, alternative work schedules are not an employee entitlement and may be modified or discontinued by the appropriate supervisory authority and department head.
If the change in work schedule is due to operational needs and is requested by the supervisor, the alternative schedule will be assumed to be a permanent change and will therefore not need to be approved every six (6) months.
Possible reasons to modify or discontinue an alternative work schedule include, but are not limited to, the following issues:
- Business needs or coverage needs change.
- Negative customer feedback occurs.
- Performance or attendance deteriorates.
- Departmental staff shortages occur.
- Use of leave.
Efforts will be made by the supervisor to reach a resolution that is fair, equitable, and consistent among employees.
Process for Requesting Alternative Work Schedules
Employees interested in requesting an alternative work schedule are responsible for developing a proposal and describing in detail how they would perform their work. The proposal is then submitted to the Supervisor/Department for consideration. The supervisor will forward the recommended proposal to their department head for approval and then to the appropriate Vice Chancellor for review and approval. The Vice Chancellor will forward the approval for final review by the Office of Human Resources.
A meeting is held between the supervisor and the employee to discuss the criteria of the proposal and to determine whether the alternative work schedule is workable within the confines of business necessity.
How to Write a Proposal
As an example a standard proposal form is included in this policy. It may be used, or departments/employees may create and submit their own proposal. The following elements should be included in proposals:
- Explain the business rationale or benefit associated with the proposal.
- Describe how the job will be completed.
- Explain how regular communication with co-workers, customers, and the manager will be handled.
- Agree to be flexible and willing to make necessary changes to ensure the success of the schedule.
- Consider alternative proposals and explain how customer needs arising during the employee's absence will be handled (backup, cell phone availability).
The following points will assist the employee and the supervisor in planning and managing a successful alternative work schedule:
- Alternative work schedules shall not adversely affect the services that are provided to students, other operating units, co-workers, or the public. The quantity, quality, and timeliness of the employee's work must be enhanced or maintained.
- Adequate supervisory contact and/or employee accountability must be maintained.
- Alternative work schedules
must not cause or contribute to the need for additional staff or for existing staff to work additional hours or add costs to the University.
- Alternative work schedules do not have to be made uniformly available to all positions in a department. Not every function is conducive to such scheduling because of service requirements. This should not deter supervisors from approving or establishing alternative work schedules for positions where such scheduling is possible and/or would enhance services. Where multiple employees request an alternative work schedule, a method for the equitable allowance of flex time or compressed workweek will be developed by the department.
- Employees are not required to participate if they choose not to do so.
- No work schedule shall be implemented that results in a full time employee working fewer than 37.5/40 hours during the workweek or does not provide the employee with at least a 30 minute unpaid meal period each day.
- Alternative work schedules should be agreed upon in advance by the supervisor and the employee, be in writing, and remain in effect until a change is made to the written agreement.
- A department that has established an alternative work schedule may discontinue, temporarily suspend, and/or alter the arrangement if work needs change or service is impaired. An employee may also request a change in schedule.
- Employees may be required to suspend their alternative schedules to attend required departmental meetings or events.
- An employee with approved vacation or sick leave will reflect the hours scheduled for the workday. For example, an employee is scheduled to work 9 hours on Thursday and requests vacation or sick leave for the day. Nine hours of vacation or sick leave will be recorded on the Salary Time Record - Official Work Record Form as appropriate.
- An employee whose regularly scheduled day off occurs on a designated paid holiday should receive an alternative paid day off equivalent to 7.5 hours within 5 working days of the designated holiday day.
- Schedule changes initiated by the Supervisor require advance notice, if possible.
- Staff members on alternative work schedules earn the same rate of pay and are eligible for the same benefits programs as if they were working on a traditional schedule.
- During weeks where paid holidays occur, the alternative work schedule may need to be adjusted so that the 7.5/8 hours of holiday pay does not increase or decrease the total hours scheduled in the workweek or result in overtime.
- Employees are discouraged from making non-work-related commitments associated with a new alternative work schedule in case the new schedule is discontinued.
Flex time is an alternate arrangement of employee work hours (other than 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., five (5) days per week) resulting in a schedule acceptable to both employee and supervisor and may include the following variations:
- Employees work a predetermined number of hours per day/week.
- Employees' starting and ending times may vary on a day to day basis.
- Employees' variable work schedule is for a fixed duration.
For the employee, flex time may include the following advantages:
- Greater flexibility to meet personal needs with no reduction in compensation or benefits.
- Option to work/commute during non-peak hours.
For the department, flex time may include the following advantages:
- Increase coverage hours.
- Maximize limited workspace and equipment.
- Reduce employee absenteeism.
- Retain qualified trained employees.
Compressed workweek means working full-time in fewer than five days a week. A typical example is a four day workweek where 37.5 hours are worked in four days with no work on the fifth day.
For the employee, a compressed workweek includes the following advantages:
- Reduced commuting time and cost
- Increased blocks of time off without reduction in compensation or benefits
- Enhanced flexibility to meet personal needs while working full-time
For the department, a compressed workweek includes the following advantages:
- Extension of daily work hours without increasing the budget
- Access to and retention of qualified employees
- Increase in productivity through better use of off-peak working hours and equipment
- Reduction in absenteeism
Whether employees work flex time or a compressed workweek, there are responsibilities that affect the department as a whole. These responsibilities, for the department, include the following issues:
- Complete calendars should be prepared and posted that show all leave requested, compressed workweeks, and flex time scheduling.
- Schedule should be reviewed carefully by employees and Supervisors for planning purposes and coordination of supervision.
- Circumstances requiring alternate supervisor coverage should be clearly communicated to all employees involved. This communication needs to occur prior to implementation.
The University acknowledges and credits the following universities in the development of this document: The University of West Florida.