Flexible Work Arrangements

The Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) should be primarily used due to an increase in operational efficiency and must be a mutually beneficial arrangement for the University, department, and eligible staff member. Thus, considerable time and effort should be taken to carefully consider all options before submitting a flexible work agreement. The availability of flexible work arrangements varies by each school, college, unit, and position based on business and operational needs.  The Dean or Senior Vice President must be directly involved in and approve any plan for flexible work arrangements.

Flexible work arrangements are only appropriate for benefits-eligible staff employees. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, any employee who is represented for collective bargaining purposes by a labor union shall only be eligible for a flexible work arrangement to the extent flexible work arrangements have been agreed to by the applicable union and employer.

Supervisors must work with employees to develop effective FWA plans that support the functions of the department, school, and university; and the Office of Human Resources will partner with departments to coach and guide supervisors as well as eligible staff through the process to determine approval. The Office of Human Resources will partner with departments to coach and guide supervisors as well as eligible staff through the process and to ensure each arrangement satisfies the general University requirements that apply as described in the  Flexible Work Policy.

In certain instances, Family Medical Leave or Paid Family Leave are more appropriate options than flexible work arrangements. For more information visit FMLA and Other University Leaves.

Complete FWA Form

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Eligibility

Benefits-eligible staff employees are generally eligible to explore a flexible work arrangement.  The availability of flexible work arrangements varies widely by school, unit and position based on business and operational needs and approvals are made at the discretion of a staff member’s supervisor and Dean or Senior Vice President. However, there are certain positions that cannot be adapted to a FWA, such as when the position involves frequent on-campus interactions, or when the role does not have flexibility to accommodate shift changes. Any employee who is represented for collective bargaining purposes by a labor union shall only be eligible for a flexible work arrangement to the extent flexible work arrangements have been agreed to by the applicable union and employer. Consult the Flexible Work Policy and the Benefits Eligibility Policy, or ask your Senior HR Business Partner or Labor Relations Specialist if you have questions about eligibility for FWA.

Types of Flexible Work Arrangements

The following flexible work arrangements will be considered:

    • Flextime/Staggered Shifts is an arrangement in which a staff member’s start and end times or lunchtime differs from the standard University core hours. Flextime does not reduce the total number of hours worked in a given workweek.
    • Remote Work is an arrangement in which a staff member works fully from a location not owned by the University. This type of arrangement is only appropriate for positions that do not have on-campus interactions with students, faculty, staff or the University community. An employee and their supervisor should also consider the ability of the employee to work productively in a location with minimal distractions that is acceptable to the University. Tax and regulatory concerns need to be addressed if the remote location is outside of Syracuse.
    • Compressed Work Schedule is an arrangement in which a staff member works a traditional 37.5 or 40-hour week over a shorter period of working days. The most common compressed workweek is a four-day, 10-hour schedule (4 days/40 hours or 4 days/37.5 hours).
    • Alternate-Day Arrangement is an arrangement in which a staff member works part of their job remotely and part of their job in the office following a mutually beneficial schedule. For example, an employee may work Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the office and Tuesday and Thursday at a remote location or an employee may alternate working weeks in the office and in a remote location. Similar to Remote Work, this type of an arrangement will not be applicable to some positions and circumstances.
    • Other Flexible Work Arrangements must be adequately described if proposed.

Considerations for Success

The employee and the supervisor will work with the Senior HR Business Partner to consider the following:

  • Are the position and the job responsibilities a good fit for Flexible Work Arrangements?
  • What is the impact of the FWA on those who depend upon the eligible staff member’s services?
  • What is the impact of the FWA proposal on the needs of the department and University?
  • Does the eligible staff member’s work style fit well with a FWA?
  • Does the eligible staff member meet or exceed performance standards?
  • Does the FWA impact the eligible staff member’s current benefits and pay?
  • Are there core work hours for the department that are not flexible and must be worked by all staff members to meet the operational needs of the department?
  • What are the cost considerations such as equipment and services?
  • Are there confidentiality and security considerations that need to be addressed?

Effect on Paid Time Off

The accrual and use of paid time off benefits may be affected by a flexible work arrangement, as follows:

  • Flextime/Staggered Shift: the appropriate number of work hours should be deducted for holiday, floating holiday, sick, and vacation time regardless of whether the start/end times or lunch time is flexed.
  • Remote Work/Telecommuting: paid time off benefits for a remote work/telecommuting day are to be handled as they would be for a day working in the office. The appropriate number of work hours should be deducted for holiday, sick, and vacation time whether the employee is telecommuting or working in the office that day.
  • Compressed Work Schedule: Vacation time, floating holiday time, personal business time and sick time should be viewed in terms of “hours available” for the purposes of deducting from the bank of a compressed work schedule employee. If a holiday falls on an employee’s regularly scheduled work day, the employee shall receive pay for his/her regularly scheduled work hours. If a holiday falls on an employee’s day off, holiday pay is not granted. This rule applies to all employees, regardless of flexible schedule status, and is unchanged by flexible work arrangements.

Depending on the employee’s circumstances, there may be policies and procedures that should be reviewed with respect to a flexible work arrangement. Prior to speaking with your Senior HR Business Partner about a potential flexible work arrangement, please review the Flexible Work Policy in its entirety, including the related policies listed at the end of the policy.

Eligible staff members who would like to request a flexible work arrangement should initiate the conversation with their immediate supervisor, who will collaborate with senior leadership and their senior HR business partner.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, not all jobs are suitable for flexible work arrangements. The approval and success of a Flexible Work Arrangement is dependent on it being a mutually beneficial arrangement for the University, department, and eligible staff member. In order to meet the needs of our students and other staff, in some cases a FWA cannot be permitted.

Yes.  An approved flexible work arrangement will undergo periodic review and assessment.  If at any time the FWA is not meeting the needs and expectations of the employee, supervisor, or University, the FWA will be discussed and in some cases terminated.

No.  New York State labor laws require that a break be given after six hours of work.

One you have reviewed the Flexible Work Policy and related information, contact your Senior HR Business Partner who will facilitate any discussions with your supervisor and provide you with the form to request a flex arrangement.