Chapter 24 – Flexible Work Arrangements
- The University supports the general concept of flexible work arrangements. Flexible work arrangements apply to both merit and professional and scientific (P&S) staff.
A flexible work arrangement allows the application of an innovative approach to achieve a highly productive, harmonious work environment that is responsive to the changing professional and personal needs of today's workforce. Flexible work arrangements refer to flextime, compressed work week, telecommuting, reduced work week/part-time, and job sharing.
Formal flexible work arrangements as described below do not replace incidental temporary adjustments of an employee's schedule that, on occasion, arise in the workplace. Neither this policy nor any formalized flexible work arrangement can supersede or contradict the terms and conditions of any union contracts and/or the appropriate administration and use of vacation and sick leave credits as defined by University of Iowa policy.
- Flexible work arrangements can produce a variety of benefits for both the employee and department. Typical benefits may include:
- uninterrupted time for creative, repetitive, or highly detailed work;
- reduced stress;
- improved balance between work and personal commitments;
- expanded coverage;
- more efficient use of space and equipment;
- a better fit between individual work schedules and work styles; and
- overall greater productivity, higher morale, improved retention, and more effective recruitment.
- Flexible work arrangements are not appropriate for all positions or in all campus settings. The University is an organization with diverse work environments, many of which require specific staffing patterns to function effectively. Additionally, health and safety considerations may preclude a specific flexible work arrangement.
A flexible work arrangement is not a right of employment. It is established at the discretion of the employing unit and may be subject to change at the discretion of the unit.
If established, a flexible work arrangement does not serve as a precedent for a future arrangement within a department. The success of a flexible work arrangement lies in it being mutually beneficial for the unit and the employee established on a case-by-case basis. The University recognizes many valid reasons why an employee may request a flexible work arrangement, including, but not limited to: professional development, community activities, family responsibilities, individual work habits and style, health and well-being. The decision to grant a flexible work arrangement request should be based on employee performance and operational interests.
Flextime refers to practices such as:
- individualized start and end times that remain constant each work day;
- individualized start and end times that vary daily, however, the same number of hours are worked every day;
- individualized start and end times with varied daily hours but consistency in the total number of hours worked every week;
- mandatory core-time with individualized start and end times with varied daily hours but consistency in the total number of hours worked every week; or
- extended meal times offset by additional hours at the beginning and/or end of the day or shift.
Flextime does not reduce the number of hours or total effort worked in a given week by an employee.
Compressed work week refers to practices such as:
- a full work week that is condensed into fewer than five days; or
- two full-time work weeks compressed into nine or nine and one-half days.1
1. Consistent with the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt staff receive time and a half for work over 40 hours in a week. Hence the flexible work arrangement cannot alter a non-exempt schedule in a manner that causes overtime to occur. Although it is permissible, with the supervisor's approval, for a non-exempt staff to alter when the 40 hours are worked during the work week, staff cannot "bank" overtime hours worked in one work week for use as time off in a future work week.
Telecommuting refers to the practice of fulfilling a portion of the employee's work/job responsibilities at an alternative work site at a minimum of eight hours weekly on a regular basis.
Reduced hours/part-time refers to the practice of decreasing the number of regular hours worked to less than a full-time position. Reducing hours worked may affect salary, benefit levels, and accrual rates of vacation, sick, and holiday leave.
Job sharing refers to the practice in which two staff members share the responsibility of one full-time position. Job responsibilities/tasks and hours may be split evenly or unevenly between the two individuals. Reducing hours worked may affect salary, benefit levels, and accrual rates of vacation, sick, and holiday leave.
- An employee follows his or her department's or unit's guidelines to request a flexible work arrangement.
- The arrangement supports the department's or unit's goals, including cost effectiveness, excellent customer service, high productivity, and equitable work distribution among colleagues, which may include cross training.
- Appropriate performance standards and measures, means of supervision, communication, and systems for accountability must be feasible and practical.
- Appropriate materials, resources, systems, supervision, etc., must be available during non-traditional hours.
- The employee's past performance indicates that the arrangement will be successful.
- Arrangements are in writing and signed by the employee, the employee's supervisor, and other relevant administrators as appropriate.
- Arrangements are time specific, that is, have a specific date for review and reconsideration. The initial review may follow a short-term pilot period.
- The denial of a flexible work arrangement request is based upon employee performance and/or the operational needs of the unit, and the rationale is communicated to the employee in writing. Such a denial of a request cannot be grieved.
- The flexible work arrangement can be tracked in Employee Self Service.
- Flexible work arrangements are evaluated and modified as appropriate on a regular schedule.
- Arrangements that are either modified and/or renewed continue to have a specific review date and be appropriately documented. Flexible work arrangements can be tracked in Employee Self Service.
- Flexible work arrangements can be discontinued by either party with a four-week notice unless an immediate and unanticipated operational need supports the suspension of the flexible work arrangement by the employer.
- The dissolution of a flexible work arrangement by a supervisor is based upon employee performance and/or the operational needs of the unit, and the rationale is communicated to the employee in writing. Such an action cannot be grieved under University policy.
The University of Iowa recognizes that community engagement can strengthen the University’s presence within our local community and throughout the State of Iowa. Additionally, fostering and encouraging community engagement by University of Iowa faculty and staff not only shines a positive light on the generosity of UI faculty, staff, and their departments, it can also contribute to overall workplace satisfaction. The University of Iowa encourages faculty and staff to participate in University-sponsored community engagement activities or volunteer activities in support of the University, by offering work schedule flexibility and paid leave opportunities.
As volunteer opportunities arise, employees are encouraged to communicate with their supervisor regarding their interest in participating when the volunteer activity conflicts with their normally scheduled work hours. Supervisors are encouraged to utilize reasonable discretion in balancing operational needs against the goal of facilitating employee participation in these engagement activities. In doing so, The University of Iowa strives to uphold the mission, core values, and culture of the institution.