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LSA Flexible Scheduling Policy

Applies to:                 LSA Non-Instructional Staff
Related Policies:       
Date Issued:          
Date Revised:        
Owner:                       LSA Office of the Dean
Primary Contact:      LSA Human Resources


It is important to acknowledge that employees are people with lives independent of work. A balance for family time, work time and education time is important to employees. Supervisors may want to consider supporting a flexible work schedule, where appropriate. While flexible work schedules are not applicable to all jobs, employees, or work environments, they can be a valuable tool to increase staff retention and staff satisfaction.  It must be made clear, however, that fairness to all members of a unit takes precedence in determining work schedules. All possible impacts on work productivity and support to faculty, students and co-workers must be considered. Staff need to understand that a flexible work schedule is not an entitlement.

Flexibility in work schedules is becoming more valued by many employees. This can be a significant factor in someone’s decision to remain with his/her current position. Supervisors must have a clear understanding of the University of Michigan policies regarding work schedules, potential payroll implications, and the differences between exempt and non-exempt status before implementing any flexible work schedules within their units. LSA provides general guidelines for establishing work schedules for non-bargained-for staff.

Setting Unit Business Hours

  1. First and foremost the Chair/Director and Key Administrator should determine the business hours for each LSA unit within the guidelines established by the University and the College. 
  2. The primary consideration in setting unit business hours should be meeting the needs of faculty, students, visitors and other staff served by the unit.  (For additional detail see SPG 201.67).
  3. During the Fall and Winter Terms, the normal hours for administrative and service offices in LSA are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.   We encourage units to stagger employee lunch hours and/or make use of temporary assistants to remain open over the 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. lunch hour.  Public service areas such as the museums have special concerns in setting hours that may be different from other LSA units.
  4. From mid-May through mid-August, many academic units see a significant decrease in the number of faculty and students seeking assistance.  If the needs of those seeking service from the unit can be met by a shortened or altered workday during those three months, LSA units can choose a schedule with a closing time as early as 4:00 p.m. 

General Guidelines to Consider

  1. Supervisors and key administrators are responsible for staff work schedules. They provide the final approval for a flexible work schedule.
  2. Staff members are to be reminded that the opportunity to negotiate a flexible work schedule is a privilege, not an entitlement.
  3. Flexible schedules do not mean staff come and go as they wish; it means they have a set time schedule for a period of time that is outside of the standard “Monday-Friday, 8 to 5” work day.
  4. Office coverage and work quality must be maintained as required by the unit’s operations.
  5. Consider the potential impacts on workflow and other staff, faculty and students.
  6. All staff should be available during the unit’s established core hours of operation to cover “peak times” and to conduct meetings.
  7. Schedules should be agreed upon by the affected work group.
  8. Staff work schedules should be posted and available to all faculty and staff.
  9. Schedules should be re-evaluated as needed when staff join or leave the work group.
  10. Fairly consider all staff requests for flexible schedules.
  11. The supervisor and staff member mutually agree on the work schedule and time period of the schedule in writing to avoid any miscommunication. The agreed upon schedule should meet the needs of the unit as well as the needs of the staff member.
  12. Set a pilot period of time to try the changed schedule, and then evaluate how things are working. Adjust schedule parameters as needed.

Options for Flexible Work Schedules

Several options may be considered when trying to manage flexible schedules with staff. Remember that many options may have positive or negative budget implications. Some ideas are:

  1. Shift in start and end times of the workday
  2. Long days/long weekends
  3. Combination of long and short days.
  4. Seasonal leaves during the summer months without salary (possibility of benefits based on prior year’s effort percentage).
  5. Combination of use of vacation days and times without pay during the summer months.
  6. Shorter lunch periods for shorter days.
  7. Reduced effort and possible use of temporary staff for certain positions.
  8. Switch a regular workday with a Saturday periodically if that helps with staff needs and productivity.

Members of a work team and the supervisor of that group typically work similar schedules.

Employees may not use paid break time to arrive late, leave early, or as a substitute for the unpaid lunch break.  (SPG 201.31, 201.52)

Non-exempt Employees

A non-exempt employee may occasionally request a non-recurring schedule change to allow time off on one day to be replaced by working longer on another day.   Please remember that overtime payment is required if the hours exceed 40 in one week for non-exempt employees.  The following examples should help explain how to provide such flexibility for non-exempt staff:

  1. When such a request is approved for a non-exempt employee that results in a schedule greater than 8 hours per day within a 40-hour work, the timesheet must reflect the actual hours worked and entered into the column “Reg Hours Worked”.  Example:  M 8 hours; T 10 hours; W 8 hours; Th 10 hours; F 4 hours. 
  2. When such a request is approved for a non-exempt employee that results in more than 40 hours of work in one week and corresponding time off within the same timekeeping period, the change can be budget-neutral and paycheck neutral by allowing the employee to take an hour-and-a half off for each overtime hour worked.   Example: Week one:  5 days at 9 hours each = 40 hours of straight time and 5 hours at time-and-a-half; Week two—three days at 8 hours each and one at 8.5 hours.  [Please remember that while this schedule is budget neutral, it only requires 77.5 hours of work for 80 hours of pay and thus such schedules cannot be approved in LS&A on a recurring basis.]  Such situations should rarely arise and represent exceptions to the University’s expectation that units will not create or compensatory (“comp”) time plans.  LSA units must consult with LSA HR prior to using excused time without pay for this purpose.
  3. When such a request is approved for a non-exempt employee that results in more than 40 hours of work in one week and corresponding time off in a different timekeeping period, the change can be budget-neutral by allowing an hour-and-a-half of time without pay for each hour of overtime worked. Such a change will not be paycheck neutral since the employee will receive overtime compensation in one paycheck and have time without pay deducted in another paycheck.  Such situations should rarely arise and represent exceptions to the University’s expectation that units will not create or compensatory (“comp”) time plans.  LSA units must consult with LSA HR prior to using excused time without pay for this purpose.
  4. Please remember that timesheets must accurately reflect time worked on an hourly basis for non-exempt employees and supervisors should not set up informal tracking systems that are different than the time reported on the timesheets.

Exempt Employees

Full-time exempt employees report time absences in half-day increments and therefore do not have the same obligation to report all variations in schedule on their timesheets.  They still have the obligation to work the schedule assigned by their supervisor and to request approval in advance for absences.  Exempt employees can negotiate flexible schedules within the monthly reporting period with their supervisors.  The designation of exempt employee status means that the university is exempt from the obligation to provide overtime payment and/or an equal amount of time off for time worked in excess of the assigned schedule. 

Union Employees

Collective bargaining agreements for union staff stipulate some constraints in setting up and/or changing work schedules.

Supervisor/Key Administrator Responsibilities

  • Assure the required work and services continue to be provided in an effective and efficient manner.
  • Discuss the proposed schedule with impacted staff before approving.
  • Support flexible schedules to meet the various needs of all staff whenever possible.
  • Assure that flexible schedules are managed fairly and not abused.
  • Assure that the time worked is necessary and accurately reported.
  • Consider each request on its own merit.
  • Arrange staff schedules creatively to provide a positive benefit to employees whenever possible.
  • Seek counsel from colleagues with experience in managing flexible schedules.
  • Ask for assistance from LSA Human Resources.
  • Be a coach to employees.
  • Realize that saying “no” is okay.

Employee Responsibilities

  • Consider different options and consider what option provides the flexibility you need.
  • Consider the potential positive or negative impact on your work and the work of your colleagues.
  • Seek counsel from other staff who may have flexible schedules.
  • Discuss with and present a written proposal to your supervisor.
  • Perform job duties required consistent with agreed upon work plan and set goals.
  • Ensure that your attendance at work is accurately recorded and is within the approved flextime schedule.
  • Cooperate with the workload requirements and accept responsibility for your own work performance.
  • Realize that any abuses of the flextime privilege may result in such privileges being withdrawn.
  • Communicate the new arrangement to those with whom you work (inside and outside your unit).
  • Evaluate the arrangement periodically with your supervisor.
  • Accept a change in schedule flexibility as workload or staffing changes occur in your department.
  • Understand that your supervisor may not be able to approve your request.
  • Be prepared to demonstrate a satisfactory level of work productivity to your supervisor.
  • Provide a documentation resource for your work when you are not in the workplace.

Work at Home

LSA does not, at this point in time, support telecommuting (ie. more than one to two days of working at home) assignments. If a Key Administrator deems an individual or project as fitting the need for telecommuting on an exception basis, a written contract must be negotiated and the unit must receive approval from LSA HR prior to approving the release.

On a case-by-case and occasional basis, supervisors may allow employees to do some of their work at home, but regular work schedules are expected to be on site.

  • Decisions to allow occasional work at home need to be based on the decision whether the work can be done as effectively off-site as on-site.
  • Employees need to assure the supervisor that the time set aside for work at home is free from other demands.
  • Work at home arrangements may not be used as a substitute for sick time when an employee is too ill to be at work.
  • Such an arrangement requires a higher level of accountability for work productivity and measurable outcomes.
  • Care should be taken that such work assignments do not require taking confidential or other irreplaceable documents to an off-site location.
  • Work-at-home assignments that would result in a loss of supervisory oversight should not be granted to any employee where there are performance and/or attendance concerns.
  • The College is unable to provide second computers for such work-at-home projects; if units have laptop computers available for off-site use, standard sign-out procedures should be used.

Additional Information

We have identified some additional references which are available online for your use:

  • Sample Flextime Proposal form
  • Sample Flextime Understanding/Agreement form with sample operations guidelines
  • UM Work/Life Resource Center  - Flexible Work Arrangement website: http://www.hr.umich.edu/worklife/
  • Standard Practice Guide – various guidelines relating to payroll implications, business hours and employee schedules. See http://www.umich.edu/~spgonlin/
    • SPG 201.26             Holidays          
    • SPG 201.30-3         Seasonal Leave of Absence Appointment
    • SPG 201.31              Lunch Periods
    • SPG 201.38             Overtime (Regular Office Staff)
    • SPG 201.38-1          Overtime (Prof/Admin and Primary Staff)
    • SPG 201.52             Rest Periods
    • SPG 201.67             Work Schedule

Flextime Guidelines

The Flextime Program, allowing alternative work schedules is designed to increase services with extended hours, to create additional job opportunities, to improve employee morale and motivation, and to enhance staff productivity.

  • Core work hours are 10:00 – 3:30; all employees must work the core hours.
  • The standard work week is 40 hours.
  • Lunch break must be at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 60 minutes.  Lunch break must be taken during the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm period.
  • The same work schedule need not be followed for each day.  An employee can begin work between 7:00 am and 10:00 am and end work between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm.
  • Flexible schedules are available only if agreed to and developed with appropriate department, collegiate (if applicable) and division approvals.
  • Flextime is a voluntary arrangement.
  • Flextime shall not decrease productivity.  All work units must be properly “covered” during the regular office hours.
  • Flextime shall cause no increase in budget or staff.  There shall be no additional funding to implement and/or maintain the program.
  • When more employees want more flextime schedules than there are flextime positions available and an amiable solution cannot be reached:
    • the supervisor may make the decision based on business-related factors.

 

Sample Flextime Proposal

 

Date: ________________________________

Employee’s Name:_________________________________________________

Supervisor’s Name: ______________________________________________________

 

I, _________________________________________, am requesting a flextime schedule for my position as __________________________________, beginning on
                        (Job Title)
____________________.
                (Date)

                                                                         

Potential impact of my flextime schedule on my work responsibilities and/or my department may include the following (e.g. impact on operations/work flow, potential advantages, potential disadvantages): ________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

 

The schedule I would desire for flextime is:  ________________________________________________________________________________

 

My expectations for supervision while on flextime are:  _________________________________________________________________________________

 

Suzanne Dribble
Professional Skills, Inc.

 

Sample Flextime Understanding

Flextime is a mutual work agreement between employer and employee that allows for some components of the employee’s work to be performed at flexible hours/days other than the standard work hours and /or workweek.  Flextime is supported by our organization provided the missions of the department granting flextime are uncompromised.

The following constitutes the terms and conditions of Flextime which the employee must follow.

 

Work Hours

Total hours to be worked per week:

Core hours are routinely expected to include the following:

Mon: _______________________________

Tues: _______________________________

Wed: _______________________________

Thurs: _______________________________

Fri: _________________________________

Sat: _________________________________

Sun: ________________________________

Schedule Evaluation

The employee and supervisor will meet/communicate as necessary and appropriate to review work progress and effectiveness of the flextime schedule.

Termination of Arrangement

The agreement may be changed or terminated upon mutual agreement.  The supervisor has the right to request the employee to retain to the standard schedule with reasonable notice.

I have read the flextime policies and guidelines related to flextime and agree to uphold the terms.

 

_____________________________                                      _______________________
Employee’s Name                                                                        Date

 

_____________________________                                      _______________________
Supervisor's Name                                                                      Date

 

Please contact LSA HR if you need additional information or guidance.