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Flexwork Policy and Process

Policy statement

University policy is to permit staff employees to have a flexwork arrangement when the employee's supervisor, manager, or other designated official determines that doing so will allow a position's work to be performed effectively and in conformance with job requirements, applicable regulations, University policies, and collective bargaining agreements.

Requests for flexwork as a disability accommodation are handled separately through the disability accommodation process.

Introduction

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

Typically, an employee will request a flexwork arrangement, however such arrangements can be required as a condition of employment.

Flexwork arrangements are intended to benefit the employee without unduly burdening unit operations. Managers must carefully evaluate the feasibility of a proposed flexwork arrangement before approving it, ensuring that the employee will be able to continue working effectively.

With a good flexwork plan in place, the arrangement can benefit the employee, your team, and the University by helping to improve job satisfaction while ensuring that work continues to get done effectively. Being able to provide flexwork options can also help managers recruit and retain employees.

Types of flexwork arrangements

Alternative 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. Working four consecutive ten-hour workdays during the week for a full time employee is an example of an alternative work arrangement.

Flexible work arrangements: In a flexible work arrangement the employee has a consistent number of total hours worked each work day, a fixed set of core work hours that are always worked each work day, and work start and end times that can vary daily within a specified range of time. An example of such an arrangement for a full time employee (including an hour lunch) would be a schedule where the employee is always works 8 hours per day and is always at work from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a work start time between 8 and 9 a.m. and a work end time between 5 and 6 p.m.

While there can be combinations of flexible and alternative work arrangements, particularly complex or unusual schedules can pose challenges that the manager 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.

Evaluating the flexwork request

Managers make the final decision about the flexwork request after working with the employee to evaluate the request's feasibility. Before making a final decision about a flexwork request, managers should assess the effects that the flexwork arrangement will have on the employee, the work team, and their management responsibilities. If unsure that a proposed flexwork arrangement can be successful, managers can consider allowing the employee to flexwork on a pilot basis by designating an initial review period before making a final decision about a request.

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, managers will consider how well the employee has demonstrated the skills and work habits that lead to a successful flexwork arrangement including the employee's:

Determine team and unit readiness for flexwork

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

Ultimately, managers need to determine the work configuration that functions best for their 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, one can start with limited flexwork options for a team, and make changes after gaining experience.

Consider whether a flexwork arrangement will affect:

Respond to the flexwork request

Except for flexwork requests made through the disability accommodation process, if a flexwork request cannot be approved, managers should explain their decision based on the proposal's impact on department operations and if appropriate, the employee's work record.

If there are concerns about a disability accommodation-related flexwork request, managers should discuss them with the unit's Human Resources Consultant or the Disability Services Office.

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 manager and the employee have a clear, common understanding of the flexwork arrangement. At a minimum, the agreement should define:

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 the agreement is finalized, the employee should receive a copy and a copy should be placed in the employee's department file.

Resources

Questions about flexwork can be directed to your unit's Human Resources Consultant.

Flexwork Topics