Flexible Work Schedules

I. Purpose

Flexible work schedules enable employees to continue to meet the business needs of the university while allowing the opportunity to balance work responsibilities and personal concerns. UNC Asheville’s flexible work scheduling program also helps to diminish the commuting cost for employees and promotes conservation of natural resources. The granting of flexible work schedules should not result in a change to the department’s regular hours of operation nor does it limit the responsibility of department heads to establish and adjust work schedules.

II. Scope

The Flexible Work Schedule policy applies to SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty employees. Eligibility for participation in flex-time will depend on an assessment by the department head to ensure that the employee’s proposed work schedule will enable the employee to fully meet job responsibilities and performance expectations, that all service needs are met during normal business hours, and that the department’s efficient and effective operations will not be interrupted. While it is not required that alternate work schedules be uniformly available to all positions in a department, the department head is responsible for ensuring the fair and equitable administration of this procedure to eligible employees.

III. Definitions

A. Flex-time or Flexible Work Scheduling – an arrangement that may include a consistent daily schedule with individualized starting and ending times that are the same throughout the week or a daily schedule that starts or ends at different times each day. The varying schedule may include a consistent 8-hour day throughout the week or a varying daily schedule of more or less than 8 hours. For full-time employees participating in flex-scheduling, the total hours worked per week must be 40 hours. Part-time employees must also work their appointed number of hours per week.

B. Compressed Workweek – a flexible work schedule arrangement that enables an employee to work longer days in exchange for a shorter work week. For example, an employee may work four ten-hour days with no work on the fifth day. Part-time employees may also be eligible to participate in a variation of the compressed work week arrangement at the discretion of the department head or dean.

C. Senior Staff or Senior Officers – members of the Senior Staff at UNC Asheville are: Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellors, Chief of Staff, University General Counsel and Senior Administrator of University Enterprises/Director of Athletics.

IV. Policy

UNC Asheville’s regular administrative office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, some campus departments may have official office hours or work schedules that differ from this in order to provide appropriate service to their clientele. This may include departments with multiple shifts. Departments are encouraged to consider flexible work schedules [Flex-time] when it is in the best interest of the University in providing services to students.

Flex-time is only appropriate when the work schedule is beneficial to the University and the employee. Eligibility for participation in this program will be determined by the department manager on a case-by-case basis, with business needs being the primary consideration. At no time will normal office and department coverage be compromised. Some departments may be unable to offer flexible hours for some positions and/or during certain times of the year. If a flexible work schedule is granted, it is understood that, depending on business necessity, it may also be withdrawn or temporarily suspended by management at any time if issues under Section D [below] are not adequately addressed.

Working a flexible schedule is a privilege, not an employee right, and flexible schedules are not appropriate for all jobs or all situations. Denial of a request for a flexible work schedule is not grievable.

A. Coverage

The implementation of a flex-time schedule is contingent upon assuring at least minimal departmental coverage during the normal business hours. Supervisors/department heads should design flexible work schedules so that adequate supervision is provided.

B. Cross Training

A department using flex-time must take appropriate actions to ensure proper cross training in order to maintain levels of service for the duration of the normal operating hours of the department.

C. Policy Compliance

Flex-time schedules must be implemented in accordance with applicable University, state and federal policies and regulations. Flex-time schedules are not intended to alter the basic understanding that full-time staff employees are expected to work 40 hours per week, including appropriate lunch periods. Permanent part-time employees working a flexible work schedule are also expected to work their appointed number of hours per week. Flex-time schedules do not change normal attendance requirements.

An employee participating in the flex scheduling option should note that when a holiday falls on his/her scheduled extended workday, he/she will need to use vacation or compensatory leave to cover the additional hours on the holiday. For example, a full-time employee is granted 8 hours of holiday leave for a designated holiday. If the holiday occurs on a Wednesday and the employee’s flex schedule requires him/her to work 10 hours on Wednesdays, the employee will record 8 hours of holiday leave and 2 hours of vacation or compensatory leave on his/her timesheet for that day.

D. Key Issues to be Addressed Before Approving Flex Schedules

When contemplating implementation of flexible work schedules, the staff member and supervisor need to consider both university and individual issues. Key issues that must be addressed for flex scheduling to succeed include:

  • How will university and departmental needs be met?
  • How will the needs of the customer/client be met?
  • Does the job contain tasks that can be done at non-traditional times?
  • Are staff members sufficiently cross-trained to cover core department functions?
  • Have the support needs of the staff member and the supervisor been carefully assessed?
  • Can the employee’s performance be successfully monitored during the extended work hours?
  • Other employees must not be unduly burdened by a flextime staff member’s schedule.
  • A good communication process must be in place to keep employees informed and coordinated with one another to get the job done within the unit.
  • Accountability and performance expectations must be clearly identified.
  • Are requests for flexible work hours handled equitably?
  • Can management continue to adhere effectively to federal wage-hour regulations regarding work that occurs outside the supervisor’s schedule?
  • Does the arrangement result in continued or increased worker productivity for the employee, the manager and/or the work unit?

E. Lunches

Lunches and/or scheduled rest periods cannot be eliminated when staff work flexible schedules.

F. New Employees

Staff members should expect to work the standard department schedule (for example 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) during their probationary period to assure appropriate training and interaction with others in the department.

G. Teleworking

Teleworking (or telecommuting) is a formal flexible work place arrangement that differs from the informal practice of professional and administrative staff occasionally working from a location other than the campus department. The university offers a more formal arrangement for working at an alternate location, such as a staff member’s home, one or more days a week on a recurring basis. Please see UNC Asheville’s Teleworking Policy for more details.

V. Procedures

A. Approval of Flex Schedules

Some jobs are suited to flexible schedules, others are not. If an employee wishes to be considered for a flexible work schedule, he/she should submit the request in writing to the supervisor, using the Flexible Schedule Request Form. The supervisor will carefully review the job description and how the adjusted schedule might affect the completion of duties, how it would impact other staff and faculty, and how it affects any customers served. After a careful evaluation of the pros and cons of a flexible schedule, the supervisor will explain clearly to the employee why the request is or is not approved. If the request is denied, the supervisor should state the reason on the Flexible Schedule Request Form.

In cases where two or more employees with similar duties request a flexible schedule, the supervisor may not be able to approve all requests. The supervisor should assess the work to determine how much flexibility is possible. Factors such as seniority, merit, skills and personal circumstances may be considered when a choice must be made. The supervisor should consult with the Director of Employee Relations at 251-6605 if assistance is needed.

The supervisor and the department head/director* must approve flexible work schedules and submit the schedules to the division’s Senior Officer for final approval. Each employee’s flex-time schedule should be documented in writing by the supervisor on the Flexible Schedule Request Form. The schedules and forms should be maintained by the department, and a copy of each approved form should be forwarded to Human Resources for inclusion in the employee’s personnel file.

Note: For employees within the Academic Affairs division, approval by the appropriate Academic Dean is required.

B. Modifying or Rescinding a Flex Schedule

The flex schedule agreement includes:

1. A detailed work schedule, and

2. A provision for modifying the schedule or reverting back to the normal work schedule within a reasonable time period if necessary.

The supervisor may terminate the agreement because of other employee needs, new responsibilities within the department, or other conditions. It is understood that the supervisor has the right and responsibility to modify or eliminate a flexible schedule as circumstances change.

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