Compressed Work Weeks FAQ
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Compressed work weeks allow employees to work longer hours over fewer days in order to get additional days off on a regular basis. For example, in a job that is typically 40 hours in five days, a compressed work week might be a “4/40” schedule in which an employee works four 10-hour days and takes the fifth day off, or a.”9/80” schedule, whereby an employee works 80 hours in nine days and takes the 10th day off.
Compressed work weeks eliminate some commute days, often shift the remaining commutes outside peak traffic times, and allow more flexible time for family and personal pursuits. Compressed work weeks have a positive impact on morale, productivity and job satisfaction for the employee and companies are able to recruit and retain valuable skilled workers by offering such strategies.
A written policy is essential. It provides the basic information employees need to participate and the available options. The written policy incorporates eligibility requirements, restrictions, monitoring and procedures to participate.
Other organizations with experience with compressed work week programs have reported that this problem has rarely arisen, even though it is assumed that it will be a serious problem. Decisions for approving flexible work requests should not be based on personal need but rather on organizational needs. However, if similar proposals are presented, it may be appropriate to consider personal issues to resolve competing needs. Objective criteria, such as seniority, special skills or specific office needs, may serve to resolve these conflicts. Often, a group discussion and team approach helps. Not everyone needs to have the same day off.
Based on the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt staff should maintain the same number of hours worked weekly during the revised schedule as well as when more traditional hours are worked. Remember, over time pay is required for non-exempt staff work in excess of normal work week hours up to forty hours a week. Above forty hours a week, time and half pay is required. In a 9/80 program, the pay period is often cut off at noon on Friday to avoid going over 40 hours per week. Learn more about the FLSA and flexible scheduling and consult your human resources staff for guidance on correctly administering the program for non-exempt employees.
- Find solutions to help managers monitor employee attendance. Challenges arise when managers work different schedules than their employees, arriving and leaving at varying times or taking different compressed work week days off.
- Establish core times and core days if inter-departmental or all-company meetings are regular or essential.
- Involve company accountants in developing the policy to expedite accounting for payroll, holiday pay, vacation, overtime, absences, etc. Train managers on policies and procedures.