Flex Work Arrangements Policy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What constitutes a flex work arrangement?

A flex work arrangement is one that varies from the standard schedule of the department in which the staff member works. Examples of flex arrangements include flex time, compressed work week, and reduced work schedules (28-hour week and 9-, 10-, and 11-month contracts).

Who must approve a flex work arrangement?

Flex work arrangements must be approved by the supervisor and the authorized official.  For the purposes of this policy, authorized officials are: cabinet members, their direct reports and Deans.  

What are the eligibility criteria to be considered for a flex work arrangement?  How will these be communicated?

Any staff member may be eligible to work a flex arrangement so long as their position is amenable to the arrangement requested and the department can accommodate the request.   Departments may establish internal guidelines addressing the types of arrangements they are willing to consider.  The employee relations team in Human Resources is available to assist departments with establishing and communicating internal guidelines.

Do I need to have a specific reason (i.e. dependent care issues) for requesting a flex work arrangement in order for my request to be approved?

No.  The reason behind someone’s desire to have a flex work arrangement is not a matter for consideration.  In fact, considering such issues as the basis for granting or denying a request could lead to the perception of unfair treatment for various protected groups.

Is eligibility for a flex work arrangement limited to only exempt staff (paid on monthly basis)?

No.  All staff regardless of their classification as exempt or non-exempt are eligible for flex work arrangements.  Whether a request is granted should depend on the nature of the arrangement requested, the duties of the position, the needs of the department and its customers, and the individual’s performance and attendance history.

Is there a limit to how flexible a department – or individual arrangement – can be?

There is no limit to the number or variation of flex work arrangements that may exist in a particular department. The department must evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis and, based on the nature of the request, take into consideration the staff member’s work performance and attendance, ability to work independently, communication skills, nature of the work, and the impact the arrangement will have on the department’s operations and other staff members.  It is strongly advised that departments be consistent in their approach to reviewing, approving or denying requests for flex work arrangements.

Can adjustments be made to the flex work arrangement and, if so, how often?

It is recommended that flex work arrangements be initially implemented on a trial basis and that they be reviewed after 2 – 3 months to determine if the arrangement is successful. After that time, the arrangement may be modified or terminated as needed to ensure that the arrangement does not negatively impact the staff member’s or the unit’s work quantity, quality or productivity.  Depending on the type of arrangement, as with any schedule change, some advance notice of the change may be appropriate. 

Can the flex work arrangement be variable?

Staff should have an established schedule that they work each week.  There may be times that it is necessary to adjust that schedule based on the business needs of the department.  Examples may include evening or weekend events or required travel.  Where business needs call for variation, a staff member’s work schedule may be modified. Departments may approve staff requests for flex arrangements that vary by season. For example, a compressed work week may be approved for the summer months and is not in place during the academic year.

Can I appeal the decision if my manager does not approve my request for a flex work arrangement?

In implementing the flex work arrangement policy the university is encouraging greater flexibility in the workplace with respect to individual staff work schedules.  If a supervisor is not able to approve a particular arrangement there should be some discussion as to why the request has not been granted.  It may be possible that a modified version of the request can be granted.  However, there are some positions where a flex arrangement may not be feasible.  Denial of a flex work arrangement cannot be grieved under the university policy unless the staff member believes the denial is in violation of the University’s non-discrimination policies.

Can non-exempt staff (bi-weekly) have a work schedule that totals 70 hours over two weeks rather than 35 hours per week?

This would be an example of a compressed workweek.  Keep in mind that all flex work arrangements must comply with existing federal and local laws and university policies.  Overtime laws require that time over 40 hours be paid at one and a half- times the regular rate for any hours over 40 in a given workweek.  The law does not permit an organization to average that time out over a pay period.  By extending the number of hours a staff member may work in one day – over the course of a week – to achieve 70 hours over 9 (or fewer) workdays may create an overtime situation for the first week in the scenario requiring the department to pay overtime each pay period.  Departments should consider the long term budgetary impact of such arrangements during their review of such requests.

Can staff use flex work arrangements to phase into retirement?

One example of a flex arrangement is reduced hours.  This may take the form of an 80% workload, a 28 hour work week, or an appointment of 9, 10, or 11 months.  Staff wishing to phase into retirement may request such an arrangement.  However, bear in mind that a regular work schedule of 28 hours is the minimum in order to maintain full-time status and benefits eligibility.

Does the flex work arrangement policy permit working from home?

This policy does not include teleworking arrangements.  Requests for teleworking arrangements will continue to be evaluated on a case by case basis as an exception to this policy. Should you receive a request for a permanent teleworking arrangement after this policy is communicated, please contact the Employee Relations team on x2607 for assistance in evaluating and responding to the request.