This policy was prepared by the division of human resources in the ColoradoDepartment of Personnel & Administration, November of 2001. It includes anexplanation of the benefits offlextime, the drawbacks, a discussion of how aflextime schedule is created, and sample flextime requestforms.
The State of Colorado’s Work-Life alternative work arrangement programsstrive to offer flexibility to employees and managers. For many employees,primary values have switched from compensation to flexibility in support ofwork-life balance. These programs allow managers to carry out essentialbusiness, while accommodating an ever-changing diverse work force.
Individual state agencies have the right to decide how and whether toimplement alternative work scheduling programs. For more information see theattached documents or visit our Web site at (fill in address for your company):
What is flextime?
Flextime is a way to redesign or restructure traditional work schedules sothe employee works daily hours different from regular office hours or works afull schedule in fewer days. Employers can use this option to accommodate thechanging workforce and business needs. Employees can use innovative schedulingto fulfill a variety of personal needs, including family responsibilities,routine health appointments, educational activities, and volunteer and wellnessactivities. This type of scheduling is flexible enough to be used on an ongoingor as-needed basis.
For example, the employee may take two hours to attend parent-teacherconferences and then make up the time during the same workweek. Flextime allowsan employee to manage personal and work activities without lost work time.Reduced work time (e.g., job sharing) and flexible work sites are also forms ofalternative work arrangements and can be used in conjunction with flextime, butthe focus here is on restructured work schedules.
Flextime comes with several options
The most common form of flextime is a fixed schedule where the employee worksthe same set hours each day but it varies from the regular core business hoursof the office, e.g., 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in an office that is normally openfrom 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Other flextime options include the following.
Daily Flex-schedule — a flexible schedule where the employee is free to sethis/her own work hours within limits established by management. There are threecomponents.
Core Period — the hours in a workday when all staff are needed, e.g., 9 a.m.to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., when meetings are likely to be scheduled,customer contact is heaviest, etc.
Bandwidth — the hours during which managers allow flexible scheduling(includes the core period). It defines the earliest time employees may arriveand the latest time they may leave, e.g., 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Flexible Hours — the hours an employee chooses to work. Under one approach,work schedules can vary daily within the band without prior approval as long asthe full workweek is completed. A variation is staggered work hours whereemployees begin and end at individually based, fixed times that do not changedaily but may periodically change on specific dates. The arrangement can be usedon a permanent or temporary basis, e.g., to make up missed time.
Compressed workweek — a flexible schedule where a full workweek is completedin fewer than five days by increasing the number of hours worked per day. Themore common examples are the four-day (10 hours per day) or three-day (12 hoursper day) workweeks.
5 x 4 workweek — a flexible schedule where four days are worked in one weekand five in the next for a total of 80 hours. There are variations on this typeof schedule. The key is working 80 hours over a two-week period. Thisarrangement may require the redefinition of a workweek for employees who areeligible for overtime (two 40-hour weeks).
Is flextime allowed by the state personnel system?
Several Executive Orders endorse flextime as an appropriate and beneficialemployment practice and urge managers to use the concept as business needspermit. An Executive Order also establishes the state’s employer policy onwork-related family issues. This policy promotes flexibility and innovation injob design and work hours. Managers are expected to make every reasonable effortto deal with work-life issues equitably, flexibly, and compassionately withoutadversely affecting the mission of the agency. By increasing awareness and use,the state can maximize the benefits from these creative, flexible arrangements.
Who is eligible?
Any employee is eligible; however, not every job lends itself to flextime. Itwill depend on the nature of the job and the business needs of the work unit.Flextime is voluntary. Only the employee with an identified, documentedperformance problem should not be offered this option. Also, the manager mayexclude an employee whose presence is critical during standard work hours, e.g.,assembly line operations or small offices where no alternate coverage isavailable.
Because of the requirement to pay overtime to employees in overtime-eligiblejobs, flextime schedules for these employees should be developed carefully.Flextime is not a right but a business arrangement. No employee is entitled toflextime and approval of the arrangement is the sole discretion of the employer.
Improved service and image. The work unit may be able to keep the office opento the public for more hours, giving greater access to services and an improvedimage of the agency.
Reduced congestion in traffic and parking lots. Employees reduce thenumber of commuting trips and often when they do commute, it is during non-peakhours.
Competitive edge. It can increase the pool of qualified job applicantswho otherwise might not be available or willing to consider state jobs. It alsohelps retain valuable employees because they can adjust their hours to meetpersonal needs instead of having to use leave or resign.
Studies show that one of the top demands from today’s workforce isflexibility to deal with personal and career needs. This research also showsthat increasing numbers of employees have turned down “better” joboffers (more money) in favor of a less rigid working environment.
Less use of paid leave. Employees have more time to schedule personalmatters during convenient non-work times instead of having to take leave. Forexample, appointments can be scheduled during non-work hours or time can moreeasily be made up. The employer does not lose productivity due to “down time.”
Virtually eliminates tardiness. If an employee is late, time can bemade up sometime during the workweek. Employees can set their own start times tofit their “biological clocks” so the employer can take advantage ofemployees’ peak times.
Better use of equipment. Congestion at office machines can be relieved,thus avoiding additional purchases.
Better organization of work. Workflow and scheduling must be carefullyplanned to fit the workforce to the workload. Periods of peak activity and idletime are better managed so that more work can be done in the same number ofhours.
Better management practices. Productivity is more validly judged bymeasuring results or contributions vs. watching time clocks. Time is scheduledmore effectively. For example, meetings, visits and phone calls can be scheduledduring core hours. More “quiet” time can be created to tackle workrequiring concentration. The result is better time management practices.
Improved productivity. Employees feel more control over part of theirwork environment so they are more satisfied with their work. With improvedsatisfaction and morale comes more productivity. Flextime can result in greaterefficiency and quality of service, e.g., more continuous time to work with a4x10 schedule. Studies report that employees who are satisfied with their workenvironment and supervisory relationship deliver better customer service,resulting in improved customer satisfaction.
Better managers. In an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation,managers can become more effective through improved relations, greater employeeparticipation in the management of the unit, increased productivity and qualityof service, etc. A manager has an opportunity to practice skills and enhancehis/her personal reputation as a good manager.
No cost option. The work place can be improved at no cost. In somecases, overtime costs can be reduced or eliminated through improved workplanning and scheduling while increasing hours of coverage or service.
It takes planning and adjustment to set up flextime initially. Thought mustbe given to supervisory arrangements, adequate staffing, communication, andcoordination and completion of work assignments and performance management.
The nature of business and characteristics of a job or employee may not beappropriate for flextime.
Without clear and adequate communication, there is a possibility thatflextime may come to be viewed as an entitlement.
Flextime requires planning. The more carefully planned, the more likely allinvolved will see the benefits and the better the chances for success. Employeeinvolvement in the planning, implementation, and evaluation is stronglyencouraged as it can lead to better business decisions for the work unit.
Develop a plan. Consider all aspects and potential impacts on the workunit. Create a plan that outlines the specific arrangement for the work unit.What is gained by using flextime? Define the objectives and the benefits orimpact to the work unit, manager, employee, co-workers, and customers.
Examine the work culture, nature of business, and operational needs for thework unit to determine if flextime is feasible, e.g., level of trust, level ofmanagement support, nature of services and jobs, amount of “face time”required as opposed to results, other flexible practices already in place. Howwill processes be used to document hours worked and results achieved? What aboutaccessibility in case of a business emergency or when the employee needs to bephysically present?
Consider the appropriateness of flextime for the jobholder, e.g., performancerecord, level of independence, demonstrated self-discipline and motivation,desire or ability to work longer days.
- Develop selection criteria. The manager determines what factors toconsider when making decisions on requests but primary is always operationalneeds in relation to job assignments and then the jobholders. These factorsshould be worked out ahead of time and be part of the written plan.
Establish criteria for approving requests. Some ideas include possiblebenefits to the organization, potential drawbacks, requests by others in thework unit, duties of the job and if they can be effectively performed with thenew schedule, the level of staffing and supervision needed at various times, thelevel of service that would be provided to customers, the schedules of otheremployees outside the work unit with whom the job must coordinate, etc.
Establish a way to break ties for requests. Some ideas includeperformance, seniority, draw lots, or rotation.
Establish sanctions for abuse. Under what circumstances will the schedulebe terminated? Examples of abuse include inaccurate time sheets or a continuingdecrease in productivity that indicates an employee is not working duringflexible hours. Remember, evening cases where there is no abuse, the arrangementmay be discontinued at any time.
Submit a written request. The employee submits a written request to themanager detailing the specific schedule desired. It should be submitted well inadvance of the desired start date for the new schedule. The employee should beprepared to discuss the details of the request and participate in resolving anyissues.
Communicate and decide. The key to success is mutual trust and respect.The employee and manager should meet to discuss any concerns, jointly resolvedifferences, and reach an understanding on the terms of the arrangement.
Document. It is advisable to document the specific arrangement. Rememberthat flextime is a privilege, not a right, and may need to be modified forbusiness reasons. Both should remain flexible because both have an interest inmaking the arrangement work. Both are also accountable for responsible use offlextime.
Hint: Try a pilot or trial run to test one or more options for a few monthsand address issues as they come up. Expect some adjustments along the way.
List your current schedule and the requested schedule.
Current Start and Stop Times
Requested Start and Stop Time
|Total Work Hours||Total Work Hours|
I. (Employee completes this section.)
Class Title: _____________________________
Exempt: _______ Non-Exempt:________
How will your proposed schedule sustain or enhance your ability to get thejob done and the ability of the work unit to maintain production and service?
What potential challenges, including potential additional costs, could yourchanged requested schedule raise with:
How do you suggest overcoming any challenges with these groups?
What reasonable measurements would you propose for you and your manager toconstructively monitor the flextime schedule and assess how your performance(e.g., productivity and service) is meeting or exceeding expectations? Are theremeasurable outcomes to use? Be as quantitative as possible.
(Division Director or designee completes this section.)
Request for flextime is __ approved.
Effective date of flextime: ____Ending date if temporary _____
Request for flextime is ____declined. If declined, please describe why:
We understand that prior approval is required, including any subsequentchange to a different flextime schedule. Approval is the sole discretion of theDivision Director or designee and, if approved, may be modified or discontinuedat any time. The employee may also request to discontinue an approved flextimeschedule at any time.
Division Director’s (or designee’s) signature________________
Employee’s signature _________________________________
Original to human resources office forpersonnel file. Copies to employee and supervisor.
SAMPLE FORM B
Name: __________________________________ Date:______________
Class title: _______________________________
Exempt ____ Non-Exempt____
Division: _____________Work unit/section: ____________________
|Current Schedule||Start/Stop Times||Proposed Schedule||Start/Stop Times|
|Total work hours||Total work hours|
How will the proposed schedule affect the ability of you and your work unitto get the job done? Please note to what extent your work depends on customersor other staff, requires the presence of a supervisor, how productivity can bemeasured, the impact on co-workers, and the impact on customer service.
Flextime is a management tool and the primary consideration is alwaysbusiness need, and approval of an alternative work schedule is at the solediscretion of the appointing authority. It is a privilege, not a right orbenefit, and an approved schedule may be discontinued or modified at any time.
Employee signature: _________________________________
Appointing authority signature: ______________________________ Date:_________
Approved. Effective date: ____________
End date (if temporary):____________
Declined. Reason: ____________________________________________________
Please file a copy of this document with the Human Resources Office
SAMPLE FORM C
A. FLEXTIME REQUEST/AGREEMENT
Current Work Hours: _______________
Requested Work Hours: _____________________
Supervisor Approval: ______________________________________________________
Basis for Request: Describe the basis for your request as it relates to thecompatibility of your job with an alternate schedule and the impact on thebusiness needs of your work unit, such as your workload, responsiveness tocustomers, impact on co-workers, staff coverage in the unit.
Supervisor: Submit completed request form to manager if outside 7:00 to 6:00,Monday through Friday.
SAMPLE FORM D
B. FLEXTIME REQUEST/AGREEMENT
Name: ________________________ Date:____________________
Division: ___________________Exempt: ________ Non-Exempt: ________
Current Work Hours: ______________
Requested Work Hours: ____________
Supervisor Approval: ______________________
Basis for Request: describe how your job is suitable for flextime and theimpact on the business needs of your work unit, such as your workload,responsiveness to customers, impact on co-workers, staff coverage, etc.
____Request is approved and effective on: ______________________
________Request is declined.
Division Director (or delegated authority)_________________________
Original to Office of Human Resources for personnel file.
Copies to employee and supervisor by (insert date).
From “Alternative Work Schedules,” May 2002, reprinted with permission ofHR Center Series, published by the International Personnel ManagementAssociation, 1617 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 549-7100.
Workforce Online, September 2002 — Register Now!