Flexible Work Options

Flexible Work Options are a valued tool for supporting employee efforts to balance the demands of work and personal life. They can promote productivity and balance by using non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.

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Flexible Work Options Overview

Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures. Outcomes are based on the staff member's achievement of results and use of competencies critical to achieving those results. Except in the case of conversion from full-time to a less-than-full time schedule, such as for a part-time assignment or job share, the total numbers of hours worked and expected productivity remain the same.

Flextime

The most requested, easiest to manage, and the most affordable options, flextime offers flexibility in arrival, departure, and/or lunch times typically with a designated mid-day core-time  during which all staff are present.

Flexplace

This arrangement allows for a portion of the job to be performed off-site, on a regular, recurring basis. The majority of work time is spent at the office and the off-site work typically is done at home. It may be the most complicated flexible work option to arrange since it generally requires electronic equipment and technological support.

Compressed Work Schedule

A traditional 35- to 40-hour work week is condensed into fewer than five days of work. This option is more easily applied to non-exempt (weekly paid) staff with clearly set maximum work hours, but it may also be available for monthly paid staff who work more than 40 hours a week. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires weekly paid staff to be paid overtime if they work over 40 hours in a work week.

Part-time Work

Part-time work is a regular arrangement for between 17.5 and 28 hours a week. This is different from a temporary work assignment where an employee is expected to have a temporary, non-recurring relationship to the workplace and does not receive paid time off.

Job Sharing

Job Sharing allows two staff members to share the responsibilities of one full-time position, typically with a prorated salary and paid time off. This is not the same as a part-time job. Each staff member shares a specific proportion of a full-time position. Note: If one position is scheduled for less than 17.5 hours a week, it becomes temporary and cannot retain regular part-time status.

Staff Member Role

Staff members should develop a Flexible Work Option Proposal (available in the Flexible Work Options Packet) for the supervisor’s consideration.  This gives the requesting individual the opportunity to assess the appropriateness of the arrangement by considering personal work style and capabilities, work responsibilities and demands of the job, and the needs of the organization.  This proposal should be put together through the supervisor’s eyes and will serve as the basis to discuss possible flexible work arrangements with his/her supervisor.  If approved, following the discussion, the staff member will draft a Flexible Work Option Agreement (available in the Flexible Work Options Packet) outlining communication plans, implementation, and how it will impact both the employee and the work unit. 

Manager’s Role

Managers are responsible for reviewing flexible work proposals on a case-by-case basis by evaluating the individual’s performance, responsibilities and work style, and remaining focused on the organizational benefits derived by supporting the flexible work arrangement.  Since School/Center leadership have ultimate responsibility for the success of the organization, they must be comfortable with the arrangement as well.

Review Manager Guidelines for Implementing Flexible Work Arrangements.

Resources

Contact Information

The Quality of Worklife Office has consulted with numerous individuals and supervisors on how to create an effective proposal, pilot arrangement and final plans. Please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance.

Karen Kille
Worklife Specialist
215-898-7729
karener@upenn.edu

Please Note: The descriptions and guidelines on this and related pages are not intended to serve as policy. The University reserves the right to change, amend, or terminate any or all of these guidelines at any time for any reason. The information on this website is based on policies and practices at the University. If there’s a conflict between the information presented here and the information contained in Benefit plan documents and/or University policies, the plan documents and University policies always govern and are the controlling legal documents. Full policy descriptions are in the Human Resources Policy Manual or in the Benefit plan documents available for inspection in the Benefits Office.