Flexible Work Arrangement

HRBP iconTo provide the opportunity for work/life balance, job satisfaction, and a more inclusive workplace, Wichita State University (University) recognizes the need to have guidance when Flexible Work Arrangements might be a consideration.  A Flexible Work Arrangement may be considered by Leaders when an Employee requests a change to the normal work schedule or location, when a position is conducive to a Flexible Work Arrangement, and in cases where it is mutually agreeable to the Employee and the Leader.  Examples of Flexible Work Arrangements offered by the University are:

  • Compressed Work Week
  • Flextime
  • Job Sharing
  • Reduced-Time Work
  • Remote Work

It is important to remember that Flexible Work Arrangements are a privilege and not all employees or positions are eligible for every Flexible Work Arrangement. Flexible Work Arrangements, if granted, are not a contract of employment and do not provide any contractual rights to continued employment or continued flexible work.  All University policies and procedures continue to apply.   

In order to assist both Employees and Leaders in assessing whether a Flexible Work Arrangement may be in the best interest of both the Employee and the University, the following guidance is offered. Leaders should review the section titled “Things to keep in mind when considering a Flexible Work Arrangement” to help identify whether the position and situation is suitable for the requested arrangement.

Additional self-guided training for a more in-depth look at each flexible work arrangement, advantages/disadvantages, and further considerations is available here.

Approval for Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible Work Arrangements are approved by Leaders, and for Flexible Work Arrangements that change an employee’s Regular Schedule, such approval must be elevate to a Senior Leader.  Requests and approvals will be made on a case-by-case situation, based on the feasibility of the request and consistent with the mission of the University and the respective department or unit. Some positions and situations are not suitable for Flexible Work Arrangements. Approved Flexible Work Arrangements should be reviewed annually, if not more frequently, to confirm that the approved arrangement continues to be beneficial for both the University and employee. Changes to an employee’s work schedule on an irregular or isolated basis, for special occasions, or in a response to periodic work load demands, is not regarded as change to an employee’s Regular Schedule.

Leaders are encouraged to have a conversation with the Employee and memorialize the understanding of the Arrangement in writing. An optional form  is available for this purpose. The aforementioned optional form, or any other documentation is to be retained in the department and could include any or all of the following information:

  • Employee's Assigned Work Site
  • Employee's Requested Alternate Work Location (if needed)
  • The Remote Work schedule:
    • Establish working hours during which staff must be available for communication.
    • Set expectations for team communication method(s) (phone, email, zoom/teams, etc.) and any regular meetings that require participation.
    • Establish regular schedule for conversations by phone or electronic communication during the workweek.
    • Specify the method for reporting work results. Identify expectations for communicating any barriers that prevent completion of work.
    • Establish any arrangements or expense payments for associated travel if applicable for on-site meetings.
  • Equipment needed and expectation of use:
    • Identify what level of support will be provided by the department (office furniture, paper, mailing/shipping funds, office supplies, computer, printer, phone, internet, or remote access service and devices).
    • Set expectations of University provided equipment (i.e. "University laptop and hotspot shall be used for all work performed – no personal computers," "Employee shall use personal printer but may submit request for reimbursement of costs incurred for printer paper and toner with valid receipt and as long as submitted within ten (10) days of purchase," etc.).
    • Identify mechanisms to return University property and equipment if arrangement changes or ends.
  • Information security expectations:
    • ITS Remote Working resources.
    • Compliance with all software licensing, virus protection, data security measures (i.e., Duo authentication) is required.
    • Security and confidentiality of University records must be maintained and stored in University identified drives accessed via secure remote access technology.
    • The Employee must immediately report any damage to equipment, either physical or through malicious malware, phishing, etc. to ITS. For malicious malware, email spamreport@wichita.edu for immediate support.
    • Data Security Plan, as needed.
Definitions

Alternate Work Location: “Alternate Work Location” shall mean the Leader-approved alternate location where the Employee will be performing his or her work on a temporary, occasional, or regular basis.  The Alternate Work Location is not the Employee’s Assigned Work Site. 

Assigned Work Site: “Assigned Work Site” shall mean the location where the Employee is regularly assigned to perform his or her work.  The Assigned Work Site is typically a location owned, operated, managed, leased or controlled by the University and is in the State of Kansas. The Assigned Work Site may consist of one or more locations, but it cannot include the Alternate Work Location.

Compressed Work Week: “Compressed Work Week” shall mean a Flexible Work Arrangement that allows an Employee to work full-time hours (40 hours per week) over fewer days in the same work week (Sunday through Saturday).

Employee: “Employee” shall mean an individual who provides services to the University on a regular basis in exchange for compensation and receives a W-2 for such services. This includes temporary and reduced-time Employees.

Flextime: “Flextime” shall mean a Flexible Work Arrangement that allows an Employee to alter workday start and finish times while still working the normal number of hours per day.

Flexible Work Arrangement: “Flexible Work Arrangement” shall mean an approved work arrangement that allows flexibility for the Employee to vary from the normal work schedule or location.

Job Sharing: “Job Sharing” shall mean a Flexible Work Arrangement where two Employees  are appointed on a part-time or reduced-time basis to perform a job normally fulfilled by one Employee working full-time.

Leader: "Leader" shall mean individuals at the University who have direct supervision of the Employee.

Part-time Work: “Part-time Work” shall mean a position at the University that is a .49 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) or less and is not benefit eligible.

Reduced-Time Work: “Reduced-Time Work “shall mean a position at the University that is less than 1.0 FTE.

Regular Schedule“Regular Schedule” shall mean an Employee’s regular or standard weekly work schedule as approved by the Leader. The Regular Schedule is intended to be continuous and for an extended period of time such as a semester, term, month, year, etc.  For example, an adjustment to an Employee’s Regular Schedule might result in the Employee changing his or her Regular Schedule from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm M-F to 7:00 am to 6:00 pm M-Th beginning June 1 and continuing through December 31.

Remote Work: “Remote Work” shall mean work duties that are performed somewhere other than the Employee’s Assigned Work Site.

Remote Work Request: “Remote Work Request” shall mean the form that is completed and submitted for review. This form is used to document Alternate Work Locations that are located outside of Kansas or for an Employee on an H1B/VISA working outside of the Assigned Work Site on the H1B/VISA. 

Senior LeaderA “Senior Leader” shall mean the President, Vice President, General Counsel, Dean, or Center or Institute Director, and any person with written delegated authority from a Senior Leader.

Compressed Work Week

Compressed Work Week is a Flexible Work Arrangement that enables employees to work longer days for part of the week in exchange for shorter days or a day off during that work week (i.e. work week is Sunday through Saturday).

Examples of a Compressed Work Week

  • 4-day workweek (also called 4/10): 10-hour days
  • 4.5-day workweek: Four 9-hour days and one 4- hour day per week

Compressed Work Week options must be managed within the same work week.

Compressed Work Week can allow the Employee more flexibility to manage work-life balance, limit work commute and increase productivity.

Changes to time screens may be necessary for Employees.  Consult Payroll for additional information.

Flextime

Flextime is a Flexible Work Arrangement that allows the start and end times of work for an Employee to differ from the workgroup standard, yet the same number of hours per day is maintained.

Examples of Flextime

  • Daily Flex: Regular daily schedule that varies from the standard, such as working from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm instead of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Summer Flex: Work hours differ during the summer months. For example, starting work at 7:00 am instead of 8:00 am. 
  • Day of the Week Flex: Work hours are flexed on a particular day of the week, such as Fridays.
  • Core Hours: Established range of time when everyone in a particular workgroup is at work with flexibility on either end of the workday.  For example, core hours are from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, but employees may start as early as 7:00 am or leave as late as 6:00 pm.

Flextime is easy to manage, allows the Employee flexibility to manage work-life balance and can increase productivity.

Job Sharing

Job Sharing is a Flexible Work Arrangement in which two Employees are appointed on a part-time or reduced-time basis to perform a job normally fulfilled by one Employee working full-time.

Examples of Job Sharing

  • Island model/job split: Employees share one position, but workload is split by each taking responsibility for certain tasks, specializing in different areas.  Tasks are independent of one another.
  • Twin model: Employees share one position, but the workload is shared.  Could be half/split day or half/split week (i.e. one works Mon/Tues, other works Thurs/Friday and both work on Wednesday or one works mornings, other works afternoons).

Job Sharing can improve recruiting by attracting qualified employees who don't want to work full-time; improve retention by offering an alternative that may appeal to some Employees and it may reduce absenteeism and tardiness because of the greater flexibility offered that allows Employees more time to manage work-life responsibilities.

Job Sharing could be more complex to manage than other Flexible Work Options.

Individual Job Sharing responsibilities should be documented to ensure expectations are clear. Consult with your HRBP if you need assistance with this process.

Reduced-Time Work

Reduced-Time allows an Employee to work less than 40 hours per week.  Depending on the amount of hours worked each week, an employee working in a Reduced-Time Flexible Arrangement may be benefit eligible or not and the cost of benefits may differ.  Offering Reduced Time, which could include Part-time Work allows the University to attract Employees from a wider employment pool where applicants prefer or need fewer hours of work than a full-time job.  It can be an avenue to retain valued Employees who may not be able, or want to, work full-time.  It can be a way to reduce costs for the University without reducing staff.   Reduced Time provides greater work-life balance, gives Employees more flexibility to pursue other activities and projects.  It enhances Employee morale, productivity and commitment.  It can also reduce absenteeism.

Remote Work

Remote Work allows approved Employees to work from an Alternate Work Location.  An Alternate Work Location is a location (other than the Employee’s Assigned Work Site), where the Employee will be performing their work on a temporary, occasional, or regular basis.  An Alternate Work Location may consist of one or more locations during any given workweek, but it shall not cross over into two different states or countries for more than thirty days without a separate Remote Work Request.

Types of Remote Work

  • Temporary: short-term, defined as 30 days or less. If a question exists about the potential effectiveness of Remote Work, the Leader may authorize Remote Work on a temporary basis with regular and scheduled reviews to determine within those 30 days if occasional or regular Remote Work is an option.
  • Occasional: Infrequent, not regularly scheduled requests to perform work remotely.
  • Regular: Continuous (does not fall within Occasional or Temporary Remote Work Types), scheduled, and may include multiple Alternate Work Locations. It can be for a defined timeframe or on-going.

Remote Work can improve recruiting by attracting qualified employees who don't want to relocate to Wichita; improve retention by offering an alternative that may appeal to some Employees and may reduce absenteeism and tardiness because of the greater flexibility offered that allows Employees more time to manage work-life responsibilities.

Remote Work situations vary in complexity and present unique administrative and legal issues.  There are situations where use of this Flexible Work Arrangement needs additional review and approval (beyond the Leader) as well as completion of a Remote Work Request. It is important to refer to the University Remote Work Guidance for additional information.

Things to keep in mind as you consider a Flexible Work Arrangement

When a leader is evaluating a request for a flexible work arrangement, they should consider the request from multiple perspectives. If any one of these are not mutually beneficial to the employer and employee, or present barriers that are not easy to overcome, the flexible work arrangement may not be the best option.  Leaders are encouraged to work with their HRBP to talk through these questions when considering requests for a Flexible Work Arrangement.

 Considerations:

  1. The position:
    • Is there a business need for the Flexible Work Arrangement?
    • Could services be maintained or improved if a Flexible Work Arrangement was implemented? 
    • How is success defined in this Flexible Work Arrangement?
    • How will completion of job assignments by the employee be tracked?
    • What equipment, software, or tools are needed for the work to continue successfully within the flexible work arrangement? 
    • How will hours worked by non-exempt staff be monitored, tracked and approved to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption status?
      • Non-exempt Employees are required to report all hours worked, are eligible for overtime pay (or compensatory time) for hours worked over 40 in a workweek and must be paid for certain time spent during travel, in accordance with state and federal wage and hour laws.
    • Are budgetary resources available for any required compensation of time for travel, commuting to campus, overtime, equipment needs, etc.? 
  1. The department:
    • Will changes in workload, work schedule, position duties, or office or department services need to be adjusted to ensure the unit can continue to meet its objectives? 
    • If the request is to perform Remote Work, are adequate staff available at the non-remote location to perform job duties that cannot be performed remotely?
    • What precedent is being established, and will others in similar situations be allowed to have a Flexible Work Arrangement?
    • How will departmental impacts be addressed?
    • How will the Flexible Work Arrangement be implemented and communicated to the department?
    • Are there additional budgetary considerations for the Flexible Work Arrangement (e.g., travel, equipment needs, overtime, etc.?) 
  1. The person:
    • Is this to accommodation a medical condition? If so, the process that should be followed is the workplace accommodation request.
    • Does the Employee have satisfactory performance that meets or exceeds expectations?
    • Could implementation of a Flexible Work Arrangement help retain a valued employee?
    • What expectations are there for the Employee to perform work in a Flexible Work Arrangement (i.e.: start/end work, availability/accessibility of the Employee, etc.)?
    • Will there be any requirements for in-person attendance, or attendance during hours outside the Flexible Work Option hours (e.g., training, planning, meetings, research, etc.) that should be discussed and documented?  

As in any employment arrangement, employees must manage and account for time worked appropriately.  Following the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and timekeeping procedures established at the University are essential to ensure employees are paid accurately.  Non-exempt and exempt staff have different requirements (reporting time, reporting leave, overtime/compensatory time accruals, etc.).  For more information about FLSA (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa) or the University timekeeping reference guide (https://www.wichita.edu/services/payroll/Timekeeping/Reference_Guide.php).


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SME: RR/LA/SH/MH/JE
Updated: 06/10/2021 SRAP