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Alternative Work Arrangements

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Policy Information
  • Issue Date: February 5, 2008
  • Revision Date: February 26, 2010
  • Primary Contact: Director of Human Resources
  • Responsible Member of Directorate: Vice President of Finance & Administration
  • Responsible Office: Human Resources
Policy Statement
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution provides alternative work arrangements, at the discretion of department heads, to enable employees to meet the needs of the Institution and balance personal and professional responsibilities.

Reason for Policy
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recognizes the need for, and benefits of, alternative work schedules and/or locations for some Institution staff that have legitimate needs which may conflict with the normal operating schedule and/or location of the Institution. To accommodate those special circumstances and to provide a framework within which the major activities of the Institution can continue to be accomplished with a minimum amount of disruption, a policy on alternative work arrangements has been established.

Contents
Policy Information
Policy Statement
Reason for Policy
Who Should Be Familiar With This Policy
Related Documents
Contacts
Definitions & Responsibilities
   Benefits-eligible Temporary Employee
   Exempt Employee
   Non-exempt Employee
   Regular Employee
Overview
   Normal Operating Hours
   Alternative Work Arrangements - General
   Alternative Work Arrangements ? Non-Exempt Employees
   Flexible Work Schedules
   Telecommuting
   Telecommuting Work Area
   Modification or Termination of an Alternative Work Arrangement
   Key Considerations
   Performance Evaluations
Procedures
   Submitting a Request
   Supervisory Review and Final Approval
   Safety
   Bi-Weely Time Reports
   Paid Absences
   Modification or Termination of an Alternative Work Arrangement


Who Should Be Familiar With This Policy
  • Employees
  • Members of the Directorate
  • Department Heads, Managers, and Supervisors
  • Human Resources Staff
  • Controller’s Office Staff


Related Documents

Institution Policies Other Documents
Human Resources: Hiring Process
Procurement: Travel Policy
Procurement: Purchasing Policy
Bi-Weekly Time Report


Contacts

If you have questions about specific issues or need assistance with the interpretation of this policy, contact:

Employment Services Specialist..................... x2704

Director of Human Resources/EEO Officer....... x2705



Definitions & Responsibilities
These definitions apply to these terms as they are used in this policy.

Benefits-eligible Temporary Employee A temporary employee expected to work at least forty (40) hours per pay period with an appointment for twelve (12) or more consecutive months. Benefits-eligible temporary employees are eligible for the same full benefits as regular employees.
Exempt Employee An employee who is exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Non-exempt Employee An employee who is not exempt from the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Regular Employee An employee expected to work at least forty (40) hours per pay period for an indefinite period of time that may continue for twelve (12) consecutive months or more.

Overview
Normal Operating Hours The Institution’s official operating and business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Alternative Work Arrangements - General Alternative work arrangements such as flexible work schedules and telecommuting are a privilege and not a right.  Not all employees and jobs are suited for these types of arrangements.  

Approval of an alternative work arrangement is at the discretion of department heads.  If approved, arrangements should be reviewed periodically to address any changing demands
Alternative Work Arrangements ? Non-Exempt Employees Alternative work arrangements for non-exempt employees must conform to all federal, state, and local wage and hour laws. A non-exempt employee who works more than forty (40) hours in a workweek must be paid overtime for all time actually worked in excess of forty (40) hours in the workweek. By law, the use of compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay is not permitted.

A telecommuting arrangement with a non-exempt employee must include a provision to address the maintenance of accurate time records, as maintaining accurate time records is required for non-exempt employees regardless of whether they perform their work at or outside the Institution.
Flexible Work Schedules Flexible work schedules allow for arrangements that permit variations in starting and departure times or days worked, but do not alter the total number of hours worked in a pay period.
Telecommuting Telecommuting is a work arrangement whereby eligible employees may perform the normal duties and responsibilities of their positions through the use of computers or telecommunications at sites other than their normal work location.

Telecommuting arrangements may be approved to accommodate temporary situations or to provide flexibility on a long-term basis.

Telecommuting is not intended to provide an opportunity for simultaneously working and satisfying caregiver responsibilities for children, parents, or others.  When the telecommuting site is an employee’s home, work should be scheduled during a time when interruptions are kept to a minimum.
Telecommuting Work Area Employees engaged in a formal telecommuting arrangement are covered by workers’ compensation for injuries arising out of, and in the course of, employment.

Off-site locations used for telecommuting should be safe and free from recognized hazards and meet all applicable codes.
Modification or Termination of an Alternative Work Arrangement Alternative work arrangements are intended to be for mutual benefit and not an employee right.  Alternative work arrangements must, in the Institution’s judgment, meet the operational and business needs of the employee’s department and the Institution.

An alternative work arrangement must not create an adverse effect on work results, productivity, cost or efficiency. 

Alternative work arrangements are subject to modification and/or interruption with reasonable notice for reasons including, but not limited to, operational necessities, office coverage, training, Institution events, etc.

The operational and business needs of the employee’s department and the Institution take precedence over alternative work arrangements and may, in the judgment of the Institution, justify termination of an arrangement.

An alternative work arrangement may be terminated by either the employee or the supervisor upon reasonable notice to the other party.
Key Considerations

When evaluating whether or not an alternative work arrangement is appropriate for a certain position, the following should be considered:

  • Does the position have clearly defined tasks? If so, can they be accomplished off-site?
  • Can results/productivity be measured effectively without frequent and regular supervision?
  • Can the present level of service be maintained without undue hardship to the internal and external WHOI community?
  • Can technology be applied to help facilitate successful outcomes?
  • How are assignments to be communicated?
  • How and when does the employee need to be on-site?
  • How will the alternative work arrangement affect team-based approaches?
  • What impact will the alternative work arrangement have on morale for both the employee and co-workers?

When evaluating whether or not an alternative work arrangement is appropriate for an employee, the following should be considered:

  • Has the employee demonstrated good time-management skills?
  • Has the employee received consistently satisfactory performance evaluations, exhibiting independent work?
  • is the employee self-directed, disciplined, and capable of balancing work and personal demands?
  • Has the employee been employed with the Institution for a long enough time to demonstrate a clear and consistent positive pattern concerning each of the above considerations?
Performance Evaluations For employees who participate in a telecommuting arrangement, establishment of performance goals and subsequent reviews should focus on measurable results rather than traditional on-the-job behaviors and performance.

For all employees working under an alternative work arrangement, in addition to traditional goals related to the job, measurable interim goals associated with the alternative work arrangement should be established and evaluated on a regular basis.  For example, does the employee comply with the conditions of the arrangement?

Procedures
Submitting a Request An employee who is interested in a flexible work schedule or a telecommuting arrangement that is expected to last for more than one pay period should present a written request to their supervisor which should include:
  • The reason for the request;
  • The length of time that the arrangement is being requested for;
  • An outline of the requested arrangement (i.e. a schedule of hours per day and days per week);
  • A description of impact to service and quality of work;
  • If the arrangement involves telecommuting, a list of duties that will be performed.
Supervisory Review and Final Approval Supervisors are responsible for evaluating requests for alternative work arrangements.  (See key considerations under the “Overview” section of this policy.)  All requests for alternative work arrangements must also be approved by the appropriate department head. 

If approved, the supervisor will notify the employee in writing, confirming the design of the alternative work arrangement (i.e. flexible schedule, telecommuting), the period of time the alternative work arrangement is approved for, and any other pertinent expectations and conditions.  Approval of an alternative work arrangement for a period of time does not limit the Institution’s right to terminate the arrangement sooner, in the Institution’s discretion.
Safety Alternative work locations should be safe and free from recognized hazards.
Bi-Weely Time Reports

Employees who have an alternative work arrangement are subject to timekeeping requirements in accordance with Institution policy and instructions related to Bi-Weekly Time Reports.

Paid Absences

Any regular half-time, ¾-time, or full-time employee, or benefits-eligible temporary employee working under an alternative work arrangement shall charge and receive paid time off as such:

  • Vacation – shall charge the number of hours scheduled to work on the day(s) off.  For example, 10 hours of vacation would be deducted if an employee uses vacation on a day with 10 scheduled work hours.
  • Occasional Illness – the maximum number of hours per day which can be charged for Occasional Illness is 4 hours for half-time employees, 6 hours for ¾-time employees, and 8 hours for full-time employees.
  • Family Illness – the maximum number of hours per day which can be charged for Family Illness is 4 hours for ½-time employees, 6 hours for ¾-time employees, and 8 hours for full-time employees.
  • Holiday Pay – the maximum number of hours which can be charged for each paid Holiday is 4 hours for half-time employees, 6 hours for ¾-time employees, and 8 hours for full-time employees.
Important: If the employee is an exempt employee, the policy on Exempt Employee Pay applies. Specifically, with regards to Occasional Illness, Family Illness, and Holiday Pay, weekly schedules may need to be modified or vacation hours used to ensure that the exempt employee receives his or her full salary for the work week.
Modification or Termination of an Alternative Work Arrangement Alternative work arrangements are subject to modification and/or interruption by the supervisor with reasonable notice for reasons including, but not limited to, operational necessities, office coverage, training, Institution events, etc.

At all times, the Institution retains discretion to terminate an alternative work arrangement if the Institution determines that the arrangement is no longer in the Institution’s best interests.


Last updated: May 7, 2008
 


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