Flexible Work

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University Policy Number 2202

Categorized:

Responsible Office:

Policy Procedure:

Related Law & Policy:


I. SCOPE

The policies and procedures provided herein apply to all administrative and professional faculty, classified, and non-student wage employees of George Mason University, at all University locations and instructional or research and adjunct faculty only if they are working remotely as defined in the policy.

II. POLICY STATEMENT

George Mason University recognizes the value of flexible work options to faculty, staff and the university.  Flexible work options:

  • Will comply with all applicable federal laws, state laws and state and University regulations, rules, policies, practices, and instructions;
  • May not be suitable for all employees and/or positions;
  • Are not an employee benefit.

No University employee is entitled to or guaranteed the opportunity to utilize a flexible work option and either employee or supervisor may terminate an existing Flexible Work Agreement at any time unless flexible work is otherwise a condition of employment.

Employees’ classification, compensation, and benefits will not change if utilizing a flexible work option.  Flexible work arrangements will ordinarily be the subject of mutual agreement.  However, the university may establish flexible work as a condition of employment, based on the university’s business needs.  In such cases, this requirement should be included when the position is advertised and in correspondence offering employment.

An employee and supervisor do not need to complete a flex time agreement if the employee’s flex schedule start time is within 1 hour of his/her regularly scheduled start time.

III. DEFINITIONS

Types of Flexible Work:

Alternate Work Schedule: An acceptable schedule, agreed to by supervisor and employee, that enables completion of the traditional forty (40) hours per week in fewer or more than five (5) full workdays.

Flextime: An Alternate Work Schedule where the start time and end time of an employee’s workday are varied, or the days of week an employee works are varied.

Compressed Work Schedule:
An Alternate Work Schedule completed in fewer than five (5) full workdays per week.

Job Sharing:
A work arrangement where two staff members share the responsibilities of one full-time position, in which each staff member shares a specific proportion of a full-time position.  Employees who participate in job sharing share one FTE and are considered part-time employees.

Regular Work Schedule/On Call Evenings and Weekends:
An arrangement whereby an employee works a regular 40 hour schedule but is on call evenings and/or weekends.

Remote Work: A work arrangement where an employee spends most or all of their working hours outside of the traditional place of work. Remote workers differ from teleworkers in that they work from their home or other agreed upon alternate work site located far enough away from a Mason campus that commuting on a daily basis is not possible, or their position is designed for off-site work.  Visits to the campus are infrequent but can be regularly scheduled.

Summer Flex: The period from the third Sunday in May through the third Saturday in August.

Telework: A work arrangement where an employee of the university works at an approved Alternate Work Site for an agreed period of time, with most of the work week spent at a university work site.

Emergency or Intermittent Telework: Telework planned on an irregular schedule or in response to contingency operations related to an emergency or unforeseen incident.

Other Definitions:

Alternate Work Site:
An acceptable site for performing job duties and responsibilities outside the traditional university office where official state business is performed.  Such locations may include, but are not necessarily limited to, employees’ homes and satellite offices.

Overtime:
For purposes of Flexible Work Agreements, hours in excess of the approved alternate work schedule.

Flexible Work Agreement:
The written agreement between the supervisor and the employee that details the terms and conditions of an employee’s use of a flexible work arrangement, other than telework or remote work.

Telework/Remote Work Agreement
: The written agreement between the supervisor and the employee that details the terms and conditions of an employee’s work away from the traditional Mason office.

Work Schedule:
The employee’s hours of work in the traditional university office or in an alternate work location.


IV. RESPONSIBILITIES

A. The Vice President of Human Resources & Payroll and Faculty/Staff Life and Chief Human Resources Officer is responsible for the administration, implementation, and interpretation of the Flexible Work Policy.

B. Human Resources and Payroll will audit and maintain records of Flexible Work Agreements and Telework/Remote Work Agreements, to ensure compliance with all University and Department of Human Resource Management policies, as well as state and federal laws.  Human Resources and Payroll will provide training and guidance on the application of the Flexible Work Policy and Procedures, as well as maintaining all forms and documentation on the HR & Payroll home page (http://hr.gmu.edu).

C. Heads of Departments, Offices, and Activities are responsible for assuring approved flexible work arrangements are within the scope of this policy and establishing the following terms and conditions, where applicable:

1. Work performed offsite is considered official state business; therefore all work objectives and tasks will be clearly defined with measurable results for the flexible work position.  The manager will monitor deadlines and work produced and will measure and evaluate offsite work performance.

2. The flexible work position (particularly but not exclusively Telework and Remote Work positions) should require minimal supervision or contact with customers.  The employee should demonstrate work habits and performance suited to successful flexible work.

3. Alternate Work Schedules, such as rotating shifts or a Compressed Work Schedule may be developed to allow departments to provide services outside traditional hours of work or to meet employee needs.  Schedule adjustments will not result in an employee working more or less than his/her prescribed hours during a pay period.  Flextime arrangements will not necessarily result in compensatory time or overtime pay.  The manager or supervisor will establish clear procedures to track time worked and to document hours worked by employees covered under FLSA.

4. Annual performance evaluations of employees who engage in flexible work arrangements must indicate performance at a level of at least a Solid Achiever or above.

5. Flexible work duties will be arranged so as neither to alter the essential job responsibilities nor to compromise the level of service provided to the customer, either by the employee or the department.

6. Teleworkers and Remote Workers must adhere to all University and Department of Human Resource Management policies, rules, practices and instructions as well as state and federal laws.

7. The approval of a position for Telework or Remote Work does not mean that any employee who later may fill that same position would be authorized to work at alternate work sites.

8. Employees working from home during a university closing are expected to continue working unless it is not possible due to power outages or other conditions that prevent them from working.  Employees Teleworking or Remote Working from home during an authorized closing do not receive compensatory time off.

9. Employees’ classification, compensation, benefits, and conditions of employment will not change upon their acceptance of any Flexible Work Agreement.

10.  Subject to supervisor and department head approval, Telework may be used as an opportunity for partial or full return to work, if appropriate, in cases of short-term disability, workers’ compensation, family and medical leave, and illness.  Telework is not intended to be used in place of leave taken for these reasons.

11.  Supervisors will ensure that employees who are working from an Alternate Work Site do not take restricted access materials from the office without the written consent of their supervisor.

12. During the Summer Flex period, employees, with supervisor and department head approval, may try out a flexible work option.  Departments may shorten the length of Summer Flex or not participate if it poses operational issues.

D. Employee Responsibilities

1. Employees working offsite must comply with all state and University policies, practices and guidelines.  They must notify their supervisors immediately of any situation that interferes with their ability to perform their jobs.

2. Employees working offsite are responsible for the security and confidentiality of any information, documents, records, or equipment in their possession.  When the offsite work involves remote access of the University’s computer network, remote users must abide by the University’s security standards relating to remote access.  All remote access involving data stored on the University network requires encryption.  The University will provide the encryption mechanism that is appropriate for the level of access and the data involved.  Sensitive data should not be included in email messages unless there is some form of encryption being used.  See the Mason security website, http://itsecurity.gmu.edu/ for data security recommendations.

3. Employees must certify that the offsite work environment is safe and they must practice the same safety habits they would use on-site at Mason (a safety confirmation statement is included in the Telework/Remote Work Agreements).

4. Supervisors may require employees to report to a campus location as needed for work-related meetings or other events or may meet with employee in the Alternate Work Site as needed to discuss work progress or other work related issues.

5. Prior supervisory approval for overtime or compensatory time is required.

6.  Employees who are working from an Alternate Work Site must not take restricted access materials from the office without the written consent of their supervisor.

E.  Supervisor and Employee Responsibility

1. The flexible work policy does not provide for every contingency that may arise.  Supervisors and employees entering into Flexible Work Agreements and Telework/Remote Work Agreements based upon this policy should endeavor to work together to resolve any unforeseen situation that may arise.  Employees and supervisors may start, modify, or end a Flexible Work Agreement or Telework/Remote Work Agreement at any time unless such agreement was a condition of employment. 1

V. COMPLIANCE

A. All employees and departments utilizing Telework or Remote Work will complete a Telework/Remote Work Agreement, including a formal schedule, and Mason equipment log.  The agreement must be agreed to by the employee, his/her supervisor and the department head and reviewed by HR & Payroll. 2  Those employees and departments utilizing Flex Time (within policy limits — see Section I of this policy for details), Compressed Schedule or Job Sharing arrangement must complete a Flexible Work Agreement.  Both the Telework/Remote Work Agreement and the Flexible Work Agreement must be completed and submitted to Human Resources and Payroll for review before beginning the flexible work arrangement.

B. Flexible Work Agreements and Telework/Remote Work Agreements will be reviewed after three (3) months to establish if the needs of the department and customer service requirements are being met.  Upon completion of a positive three (3) month review, the agreement will then be in effect for an additional twelve (12) months.  The agreement may be renewed annually and will be in effect during the time the employee is working/teleworking. A three month review is required for each agreement, including renewals.

Additionally the review of a flexible work option will be part of the supervisor’s annual review of the employee.

C. All George Mason policies, rules and practices will apply at the approved alternate work site and/or to an approved alternate work schedule.

D. Failure to follow policies, rules and practices may result in termination of the arrangement and/or disciplinary action.

E. A Flexible Work arrangement may be terminated at any time by either party unless a flexible work option was a condition of employment.

F. Offices and departments are to be open during regular business hours (normally 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday but may be adjusted depending upon the department (e.g., Library, Facilities, Police)).

G. If an employee works more than 6 hours in a day, a ½ lunch break is mandatory.  The lunch break cannot be shortened or eliminated to support a flexible work option.  For example, if an employee is working a compressed schedule of 4 ten-hour days, the employee will take a 30 minute lunch period.  They cannot work ten consecutive hours without a lunch break.  This break is not included in worked hours and cannot be used for late arrival or early departures.

H. Forty hours will be worked (or 80 hours over two weeks (for exempt employees only)), including approved leave, during a full-time workweek, Sunday through Saturday.  Planning will include the impact of any holidays, particularly in the case of compressed scheduling.  No exempt or non-exempt (overtime eligible) employee is eligible for more than 8 hours of holiday pay per holiday.  If the holiday falls on the employee’s regularly scheduled work day, the employee will be credited with up to 8 hours of holiday pay for that day.  Employees may use annual leave to maintain their hours of pay for that day or they may opt to work additional hours sometime during the work week.

I. Employees who record leave while on a flexible work agreement must record all types of leave based upon their flex schedule.  For example, an employee who uses sick leave on a compressed four 10-hour day schedule must account for 10 hours of work on a work day, not 8 as if on a regular schedule.  Leave that is not accrued or awarded annually to the employee (e.g. holiday, etc.) is limited to up to 8 hours per day.  The employee must account for the difference in their flexible work day by working  the relevant number of additional hours during the pay period or by using other appropriate leave (e.g. annual, recognition, compensatory, etc.).

J. Telework and remote work employees will not act as primary caregivers for dependents during the agreed upon work hours.  Dependent care arrangements should be made to permit concentration on work assignments.

VI. EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPROVAL

This Administrative Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.

Approved:

__/S_____________________
Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President

__/S______________________
Peter N. Stearns
Provost

Date approved: July 2, 2002

Revision approved: June 25, 2008

Revision II approved: July 2, 2010

Revision III approved: January 24, 2011

Revised: July 18, 2016

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1 If an Employee wishes to modify or end a Telework Agreement or Remote Work Agreement, the Employee must provide reasonable notice.

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2 Some departments require additional approval.  The supervisor should check within his/her department for details.
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