Thursday, August 18, 2005

Director’s Instruction, guidance issued on alternative work schedules

By James E. Rickman

August 18, 2005

A Director’s Instruction (Adobe Acrobat required) and formal guidance for managers regarding alternative work schedules was released Wednesday. The new alternative work schedule is scheduled to be implemented during the pay period beginning Sept. 12.

A master-management memo (Adobe Acrobat required) from Laboratory Director Robert Kuckuck emphasizes the need to balance employee work-life issues with delivery of programmatic commitments, customer service and internal support.

In addition to the Director’s Instruction, the Laboratory also released a management planning guide and a set of frequently asked questions and answers to assist managers in developing work schedules in their organizations. The master-management memo reiterates earlier guidance that alternative work schedules must incorporate conditions of supervision and must be developed and approved by management.

Lynn Boland, acting leader of the Human Resources (HR) Division, said the three alternative work schedules available for Laboratory personnel are as follows:

• 5/40—in which employees work a standard eight-hour day, five days a week.
• 9/80—in which employees work four, nine-hour workdays and one eight-hour work day on a Friday one week, and then four, nine-hour workdays with a Friday off the next week.
• 4/10—in which employees work four, 10-hour days each week in organizations where it makes programmatic or operational sense to do so.

Under the alternative work schedules program, the Laboratory will maintain regular business hours within each organization between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“The goal of alternative work schedules is to allow programmatic commitments and deliverables to be met while maintaining the quality and responsiveness of service and support to the Laboratory, and to support the work-life balance needs of employees where possible,” Boland said.

Schedule changes will be allowed twice a year—at the beginning of the first pay period in May 2006 and the beginning of the first pay period in November 2006. In certain cases where it is necessary to accommodate a major life change (such as care for a seriously ill near relative, the death of a spouse, etc.), schedule changes may be permitted outside of the two regularly scheduled change periods, Boland said. As with every aspect of the alternative work schedule program, all changes must be developed and approved by managers.

Employees on the 9/80 schedule must take at least a 30-minute lunch break each workday.

When a holiday falls on a day that a full-time, nonexempt employee would have been scheduled to work more than eight hours (an employee working an alternate work schedule), supervisors may approve the employee to work an extra hour or two hours in the same week, or the employee must report the difference as vacation time.

Exempt employees are expected to work the extra hour or two hours at some other time during the same workweek, or to use discretionary absence with a manager’s prior approval.

If a holiday falls on an employee’s regularly scheduled 9/80 Friday off, the work day immediately before the holiday may be observed as the holiday.

Criteria for employees to be on a 4/10 schedule have not changed, said Boland. The 4/10 schedule may be used when an organizational unit within the Laboratory must be on the schedule to meet programmatic and customer demands.

A welcome change.

BUT, it will remain to be seen if we can process a procurement on Friday!
Doesn't anybody work mother's hours?
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