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1. What is a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA)?

A flexible work arrangement is an alteration to the time and/or place that work is performed on a regular basis.

2. Why use FWAs?

Surveys have found that an important factor correlating with employee commitment and loyalty was recognition by the institution of the importance of personal and family life and support for these responsibilities.

There are also significant organizational benefits to be derived from these arrangements. Flexible work options can improve staff morale, increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and turnover, enhance customer satisfaction and improve competitiveness for job candidates.

3. What are the most common reasons for a flexible work arrangement?

A department may want to extend open hours to provide better customer service, allow employees to better handle personal responsibilities and schedules, reduce the number of days employees are in the office, match employee work hours to peak customer volume, promote employee carpooling, and increase opportunities for cross-training.

4. What type of FWAs are allowed?

The University has approved use of Flextime and Flexplace.  Flextime is working an established set of core hours with flexibility in starting and ending times revolving around the department’s standard or core operating hours.  Examples of this may include a compressed workweek or working scheduled hours in less than five full days.  Flexplace is performing normal work duties at a location away from the office, typically at home or via a virtual office.

5. Are non-exempt (hourly) and exempt employees eligible for flexible work arrangements?

Both types of employees are eligible for flexible work arrangements. Supervisors need to keep the Fair Labor Standards Act in mind when considering or implementing flexible work arrangements for non-exempt (hourly) employees since they are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a work week.

6. Are all employees eligible for a flexible work arrangement?

Full-time and part-time employees may apply for FWAs. There are certain positions that cannot accommodate a FWA.  Some positions require employees to be on campus at all times and some positions may not have as much flexibility to accommodate shift changes.  Factors to be considered by the employee and supervisor include operational needs of the department, customer service requirements, productivity required, work/life balance of the employee and employee productivity.

7. Are there specific procedures and/or forms that need to be completed and followed?

Yes. An employee interested in a flexible work arrangement should complete a Flexible Work Agreement form. Whether you are an employee interested in applying for a flexible work arrangement, or a manager/supervisor considering your employee’s request, the website contains instructions, required documents and tools to complete the process. Additionally, if you have questions or would like someone to assist you, you may contact your HR Business Partner.

8. Who makes the decision about whether or not I can have a flexible work arrangement?

Upon receipt of a Flexible Work Agreement form, the supervisor receiving the request will discuss the request with the employee.  The supervisor will then consult with their Department/Division leader prior to consulting with their Human Resources Business Partner. The President’s Cabinet member must approve any flexible work arrangement in his or her respective division, in consultation with the employee’s supervisor and/or department head.

9. Do you have to have worked in a certain job for a certain length of time before you can apply for a FWA?

Generally, a flexible work arrangement may be available to an employee who has completed their 6-month probationary period. 

10. How long should a flexible work arrangement be in place after the agreement is reached?

All arrangements will normally be piloted for at least 30 days before a regular agreement is implemented. The supervisor and employee must include regular reviews of the arrangement to decide what is working and what needs to be improved or enhanced. Each agreement should have a start and end or renewal date, typically annually but can be based on the semester or quarter. An approved flexible work arrangement should remain in place for at least 4 months after the pilot period is exhausted.

 

11. If I am currently in a flexible work arrangement, do I need to formalize it through this policy?

Yes.  All flexible work arrangements intended to last 4 months or longer must be formalized using the procedures outlined in the policy.  This policy does not apply to ad hoc, short term arrangements less than 4 months in duration.  For example, summer flex schedules.

12. Is there any time when a supervisor can terminate or vary the arrangement?

The supervisor can terminate or amend the agreement based on a number of reasons, including operational changes, staffing changes, leadership changes, performance, etc. If the FWA is terminated or amended, the supervisor should make every effort to provide the employee at least 30 days’ notice in writing. If the flexible work arrangement is terminated for poor performance, the arrangement may be terminated immediately.

13. Can a request for a flexible work arrangement for the same position but in different departments or schools be handled differently? Can one be approved and the other denied?

Yes. Since every job, employee and situation are different, it cannot be assumed that the same decision is appropriate for two similar positions. Supervisors know the operations of their departments best and are responsible for final decisions on how to get the work accomplished. But keep in mind that supervisors have the authority to say “yes” or “no” to a flexible arrangement, or to postpone consideration of flexible arrangements to another time.

14. May I take care of my children or elderly parents while I’m working from home?

No.  The flexplace option is not intended to be used as a substitute for ongoing childcare or eldercare.  Employees must identify appropriate care for their children or parents regardless of where they are working.

15. Can I make a job share request under this program?

At this time, we are only implementing flextime and flexplace.  Job share is not a part of the program. 

16. Can a supervisor mandate work arrangements for an entire department?

It is in the supervisor's interest to consider individual scheduling preferences and to make the best effort to respond to these, to avoid reduced productivity or the challenges and costs of turnover. However, yes, a supervisor may change work schedules and arrangements to accommodate organizational needs.  This would not be considered a flexible work arrangement.

The employee's ability to end the arrangement distinguishes a flexible work option from a non-traditional work schedule implemented by the division or department to accommodate an organizational goal. For example, if the school or division determines the need for extended hours or weekend coverage and requires an employee to change to different hours of work, this becomes a requirement of the job. If the employee does not like the arrangement, he/she may not have the ability to convert the position back to the original schedule.

17. What happens if an employee who is working a flexible work arrangement wants to return to his or her previous schedule?

The employee should discuss this with his or her supervisor at least 30 days prior to the date he or she wishes to resume the previous schedule. The supervisor may or may not be able to approve the request immediately, depending on the needs of the department.

18. What happens if an employee with a flexible work arrangement transfers to another department?

The employee and the employee's new supervisor should discuss the situation and determine if the employee's current flexible work arrangement is appropriate for the new position and department. The employee would have to complete a new flexible work arrangement proposal and agreement form and have it approved by the new supervisor and President’s Cabinet member.

19. How often can a person change his/her flexible work arrangement?

That will depend on a number of factors, including type of arrangement, the school/ department's operational needs, the frequency of requests, the success of current arrangements, etc.

20. Who initiates a request or takes primary responsibility for completing a proposal for a flexible work arrangement?

Flexible work options are generally introduced in a work environment by an employee who determines that he/she would like to have a flexible work option. However, supervisors may also suggest flexible work options for some or all employees. The employee and the supervisor are encouraged to discuss their needs and to work together to develop the best possible arrangements for their situation.

21. How long does the proposal and approval process take?

It will likely take 1-3 weeks for a supervisor to evaluate a request. It may take longer depending on individual schedules.

22. May I eliminate my lunch period in order to change my arrival or departure time?

It is strongly recommended that you allow a minimum of a 30-minute lunch break.

23. Is it possible to arrange for an individual's office number to transfer to a personal line to accommodate a flexible work arrangement?

Yes. Contact Telecom at (804) 287-6500 to set up the appropriate service.

24. What happens if a holiday falls on my regularly scheduled flex day?

If a holiday falls on your regularly scheduled flex day then you do not receive that holiday. For example, if you have chosen to flex on Mondays and work your full weekly schedule over four days (Tuesday-Friday) each week, on weeks where a holiday falls on Monday you would still work your new schedule Tuesday-Friday. When a holiday falls on a Tuesday-Friday, you would take the holiday as well as your Monday flex day.

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