Thursday, March 31, 2005

Executive Board (EB) has decided to reinstate (or resume) alternate work schedule

From Anonymous:


I sent this e-mail earlier this week to the Group Leaders – hoping that they in return would share it with you. During my walkarounds, I realized that some of you may still not have received this update. So I am resending this e-mail to D-all.

It is my pleasure to inform you that Executive Board (EB) has decided to reinstate (or resume) alternate work schedule (formerly known as 9-80 schedule) for Staff and Management. I would like to acknowledge and thank ISR Division and Doug Beason for working through the details as part of the Pilot project. There is a lot more to be done before it is officially rolled out and a very good team, headed by Lynne Richards, is working very hard to make this happen ASAP. Until then, please recognize that my e-mail is not official communication, but an attempt at keeping you update on the progress.

Here are some details. The alternate work week as being considered for implementation is more flexible that the 9-80 schedule. It enables each Group Leader to decide between four options: 1) Alternate Work Days (9-80, 4-10, or other) spread on any day of the week; 2) Flextime (e.g., work time outside the nominal 8-5 schedule); 3) Part-time or 4) Occasional Temporary Schedule to suite a special need of a staff member.

The process will require an employee to suggest the option, but the Group Leader must decide what is the bet option. GL must ensure that core business hours for external communication and program execution would not be adversely impacted. Employee or the manager may change his/her mind regarding alternate work week twice an year (e.g., April 1st and October 1st).

A big difference from 9-80 plan of the past is that management has a right and obligation to control employee’s schedule. Group Leader will decide the work schedule for each employee and the Division Leader must then approve it. Division Leader will ensure that Group operations would not be impacted and further more that the flex program provides equitable chance for each staff member.

Still a lot of hoops to get over before this plan is rolled out for implementation. Laboratory needs to engage local community because it impacts local businesses; we need to get UC/NNSA approvals on some of the details. After that roll out will be Division-by-Division.

I will keep you updated regularly.

DV Rao

But does management have the wherewithall to honestly track the subordinate's work-hours? There were a number of problem employees who appeared to take every Friday off under the previous 9/80 arrangement. I'm sure the abuse will continue once again. I am not in favor of the 9/80 work schedule or its derivative.
"Problem employee" is perhaps a matter of definition. Employees are only allowed to accrue vacation up to a certain number of hours. After that, they are in a "use or lose" situation. If they don't use their vacation time, then it is forfeited. Long time employees accrue vacation at a rate of 16 hours/month. Therefore, one could legitimately take every other Friday off, even under a 5/40 schedule. In a 9/80 schedule, an employee in a "use or lose" situation is basically forced to take every other Friday as vacation. That means they are "off" every Friday, as long as they work at least 9 hours each work day. Most people I know work far more than 9 hours each work day, and work even when they are technically "on vacation".

The solution? I don't know. Penalizing employees for working long hours is the opposite of rewarding desired behavior -- so, of course, that's what management has chosen to do. When I worked in industry, at the end of the year I could take cash payment for my unused vacation days. But apparently anything that rewards employees for exceptional effort is not an allowable expense here. It's ironic when management consultants come here and tout free food, baseball caps, coffee cups, bonuses, and such as motivational tools -- THOSE ARE NOT ALLOWABLE EXPENSES HERE!! We don't have 401Ks, year-end bonuses, not even free coffee. Three years ago, we had real $1000 morale incentives for long hours and exceptional accomplishments (still, meager compared to the bonuses most companies offer), but now we have "Villa Linda Dollars", where an exceptional effort can garner a whole $50 gift certificate at a shopping mall 40 miles away. Wow.

Someone should write a book about how inspirational this kind of management is. Oh yeah -- it could be called "Decline and Fall of" ...
7:59pm poster - this is an easy fix - automate the attendance process. It could be done in conjunction with the badge swipe when accessing a security area, or, it could be a secure login at the employee's desktop PC. Establish a policy of immediate termination for anyone caught falsifying the record such as logging in a co-worker when he/she isn't there.
At the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), all employees must punch a time card. This was due to a union contract for the non-degreed personnel. Employees punch in when they arrive, punch out for lunch, punch in when they return from lunch, and punch out when they go home. What has been learned from this is that the degree professionals ALL work (at least are present) more than the required 8 hours per day.
Is this an April Fool's joke? I hope not.
To the 2:22 PM poster: this is NOT a joke!
Is Rao now the regular division leader (as opposed to "acting")? I thought the selection was made weeks ago, but I didn't see any announcement.
Back in the days of yore (pick your own dates) this would have all been irrelevant.

There was a joke that went around: First scientist says "It best to be married and have a loving nurturing wife at home", second scientist responds "No No a pretty young mistress is best, she will keep you thinking young". Third scientist interjects "You two are missing the point, you need both. Then you can tell the wife you are with the mistress and tell the mistress you are with the wife. Then you can go into the Lab and get some work done".
In my group, people came in anyway on their 'off' Friday. I don't know who these cheats were people talk about- maybe not in the science groups.
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