The County supports alternative or non-traditional work schedules that provide flexibility to employees, as long as such schedules do not impact coverage or service delivery. Examples of such alternative work schedules are “4/10”, “9/80”, telecommuting, Voluntary Time Off (VTO) and flexible hour schedules. Some of the advantages of alternative work schedules are:
- Flexibility to schedule work so as to balance work/family/personal responsibilities that can result in higher morale, greater productivity, and lower absenteeism. Such schedules may also allow employees to carpool, use public transportation, find easier child/dependent care arrangements, or have a smoother and less stressful commute.
- Alternative work schedules allow management to expand office hours and staff based on workload. For example, a 4/10 schedule affords the opportunity to make the office available to the public for an additional two hours each day. A 9/80 schedule allows employees to complete paperwork during a one-hour period before the office opens to the public, freeing them up to provide public service during the other eight hours. In operations where the public tends to arrive at the beginning and end of the workday, staggered starting and ending times allow for all-day coverage.
- Programs such a Voluntary Time Off (VTO) give employees the opportunity to take additional time off where it is consistent with the organization’s goals, and saves County funds in a measurable, predictable way. It also lessens the impact of that extra time off on the employee and their families by spreading the cost of taking that leave over the entire course of the year rather than in a lump sum.
- Ability to link participation in alternative schedules to individual and group attendance and productivity goals. In offering an alternative schedule, management has the option of predicating such participation on the individual and/or work group meeting and maintaining stated attendance, coverage and production goals.
The following guidelines should be followed prior to implementing alternative work schedules:
- Maintenance or enhancement of service levels to the public should always take first priority in determining work schedules. 9/80 and 4/10 schedules often allow an extension of office hours, thus affording a higher level of service to the public. Alternative work schedules should never be entered into if they will negatively impact service levels. The availability of alternative work schedules varies from department to department and from position to position.
- Prior to discussing alternative work schedules with employees or the union, a sample schedule should be developed to determine whether an alternative work schedule is practical. You may find, for example, that a 4/10 schedule leaves too few employees for a given day’s coverage, or that it may not be possible, under a 9/80 or 4/10 schedule, for all employees to have Monday or Friday as an off day.
- As a general rule, employees should be supervised during all work hours.
- 9/80 schedules require specific documentation of each employee’s hours of work to preclude payment of overtime. A form documenting the schedule, available from your payroll/personnel specialist, must be completed for and signed by each employee on the 9/80 schedule.
- Alternative work schedules are a change in working conditions which require advance notification to the affected union(s) and a meet and confer process. If an agreement is reached on an alternative work schedule, it should be documented in a signed agreement. Employee & Labor Relations is available for consultation during this process and can provide sample agreements reached in other departments.
CONTACT EMPLOYEE & LABOR RELATIONS PRIOR TO ENGAGING IN ANY DISCUSSION WITH INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES OR UNIONS REGARDING 9/80 OR 4/10 SCHEDULES.