Chapter 24 – Work Arrangements
- The University supports the general concept of flexibility in work arrangements for both merit and professional and scientific (P&S) staff when compatible with business needs.
Flexibility in work arrangements allows for a productive work environment that is responsive to the changing professional and personal needs of today's workforce. Work arrangements may include flexible schedules, compressed work week, remote work, reduced work week/part-time, and job sharing. All of these work arrangements require advance approval by the employing unit as outlined below.
Formal 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 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.
- Certain types of 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, including patient care settings and other essential services that operate 24/7. Additionally, health and safety considerations may preclude a specific work arrangement.
- Having a specific type of work arrangement is not a right of employment. Work arrangements are established at the discretion of the employing unit and may be subject to change at the discretion of the unit.
Once established, a specific work arrangement does not serve as a precedent for a future arrangement within a department. The success of a specific 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 specific work arrangement, including, but not limited to: professional development, community activities, family responsibilities, individual work habits and style, health and well-being. However, business needs must be met and will take priority over employee preference in establishing work arrangements.
Flexible schedule 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 work week;
- mandatory core-time with individualized start and end times with varied daily hours but consistency in the total number of hours worked every work week; or
- extended meal times offset by additional hours at the beginning and/or end of the day or shift.
A flexible schedule does not change the number of hours in the work week for the 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 work week. Hence the 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 member 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.
Remote work refers to the practice of fulfilling some or all of the employee's work/job responsibilities at an alternative work site on a regular basis. A combination of remote work and on-campus work may be referred to as hybrid work. Remote work arrangements require advance approval by the employing unit as described in III-24.7 below. Remote work outside the State of Iowa requires additional university-level review and must be based on compelling business reasons.
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.
A specific work arrangement may be requested and established as follows.
- An employee follows university guidelines to request a specific work arrangement utilizing the Work Arrangement application in Employee Self Service.
- Arrangements must be documented in Employee Self Service and signed by the employee, the employee's supervisor, and other relevant administrators as appropriate.
- Work arrangements for non-exempt employees (including merit staff and P&S non-exempt staff) must document the agreed-upon regular work hours of the employee. University overtime and time-reporting policies (see III-17.2) apply to non-exempt employees regardless of work location and/or work schedule.
- Work arrangements must be time specific, that is, set a specific date for review and reconsideration, and they may be modified as appropriate as determined by the employing unit. The initial review may follow a short-term pilot period.
- Requests for specific work arrangements will be evaluated by the supervisor and employing unit based on the following criteria:
- The arrangement must support the department's or unit's business needs and goals, including cost effectiveness, excellent customer service, productivity standards, and appropriate 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, etc., must be accessible to the employee.
- The employee's past performance indicates that the arrangement will be successful.
- Additional criteria established by the organizational unit based on business needs and in alignment with these university criteria.
- Requests for remote work outside the State of Iowa require additional university-level review and analysis of various compliance risks, including but not limited to income tax withholding, unemployment insurance coverage, workers compensation coverage, etc. Approval of such requests is dependent upon compelling business reasons.
- Specific work arrangements may be discontinued by either the employee or the employing unit with a four-week notice unless an immediate and unanticipated operational need supports the discontinuation upon shorter notice.
- The denial of a work arrangement request or the discontinuation of a specific work arrangement by the employing unit will be based upon the criteria stated above, and the rationale will be communicated to the employee in writing. Such an action cannot be grieved under university policy.
- Work arrangements can be tracked in Employee Self Service. Additional information regarding work arrangements, documenting, and tracking may be found at https://hr.uiowa.edu/well-being/family-services/workplace-flexibility.
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.