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UVM Employee and Labor Relations


Ruth is pursuing an advanced degree in public administration while she is working full-time in the Controller's Office. She would like to change her work schedule from five days a week to four days a week so that she can dedicate most of the fifth day to her coursework. Since she largely works independently of her department in any case, she felt that a schedule change might work without affecting her department’s effectiveness. She asked her supervisor for approval to spread her 37.5 hour work week over four days instead of five. She now works Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm and reserves Mondays for her course work.

Peter has two young daughters in elementary school. He would like to share parenting responsibilities with Sharon, hs wife, and would like to come into work at 9:00 so that he can drop the girls off at school each morning while Sharon can pick them up each afternoon. Peter’s work in the library requires limited work with students and he thought an adjustment might be made to his schedule. He proposed a flextime workday beginning at 9:00 am and ending at 5:30 pm. His supervisor was pleased to have Peter available to students at the end of the workday when they are more likely to need his help than early in the morning, and she agreed to the change.

About Flextime

Flextime refers to work schedules with varied starting and ending times within parameters set by supervisors. Most flextime includes a core time during the middle of the day when all employees must be present. Flexible schedules generally occur at the beginning and end of each day and during the lunch break.

Flexible arrangements can successfully reduce employee absences and overtime expenses, increase access for students and staff during extended workdays and provide quiet time for employees who choose to work early or late.

Supervisors must address key issues for flextime to succeed:

  • An effective monitor of employee performance during extended work hours is often necessary.
  • Other employees must not be unduly burdened by a flextime staff member’s schedule.
  • A good communication process must be in place to keep all informed and coordinated to get the job done within the unit.

Flextime comes in all shapes and sizes from a compressed work-week of ten hour days to varying starting and quitting times during the regular five-day work-week. The following is a structure for a flextime schedule:

6:00 am 8:00 9:30 11:30 1:30 3:30 4:30 6:30pm
Flexible starting times
Core time
Flexible lunch breaks
Core time
Flexible leaving times
  8:00 am
Standard Work Day

In this structure, all employees work 37.5 hours a week. Core time, when all employees are on the job, is from 9:30 am to 11:30 am and from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Flexible time is from 6:00 am to 9:30 am, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Lunch time may be 1-2 hours long. The standard work day 8:00 to 4:30 pm, is when normal department or work unit services are available.

A Supervisor’s Assessment Tools

How does a supervisor determine whether flextime will work in the department? The first step is to review the duties and responsibilities of each employee. Apply the work to this set of questions:

  • Can service to the customer continue at a high level with a flextime schedule?
  • Are some tasks as easily accomplished in the early morning or late afternoon when it is quiet?
  • Which times are critical for each person to be in during the week?

This review can help determine which jobs are appropriate for flextime and how they could affect others in the department.

Does Flextime for One Mean Flextime for All?

No. Some jobs are suited to flexible schedules, others are not. The job description generally provides insights about which are most appropriate. A supervisor may ask the employee requesting flextime to provide a proposal outlining how the schedule affects completion of the duties, how it impacts staff and faculty, and how it affects any customers serviced. After a careful evaluation of the pros and cons of a flexible schedule, the supervisor should explain clearly why these arrangements are or are not approved.

There may be cases when two or more employees with similar duties request a flexible schedule. Within a small or specialized work unit, a supervisor may not be able to approved all requests. The fact that one person works on a flextime schedule does not mean everyone may do so. The supervisor should assess the work to determine how much flexibility is possible. Requests to approve may take into consideration such factores as seniority, merit, skills, and personal circumstance when a choice must be made.

When Flextime Doesn't Work

Part of the Flextime agreement is an outline that includes:

  • A detailed work schedule
  • A pre-agreed trial period or a fixed time period
  • A clear process for reviewing and extending the schedule
  • Provision for 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.

Next: Sharing a Full-Time Position

Last modified October 22 2013 12:03 PM