5.1.4 Flexible Work Arrangements

Policy Section: Conditions of Employment

Subsection: Work Status & Schedules

Effective Date
August 01, 2021
Previously Updated
March 16, 2020
Applicable to
Benefits-Eligible Employees
Responsible Executive
Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, Vice President for Human Resources
Responsible Office
Office of Human Resources
Policy Description

The University’s approach to Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) is grounded in the University’s in-person collaborative culture, which supports the in-person teaching and research mission. While FWAs are not possible for all work areas due to specific requirements of the workplace, the University supports supervisors permitting flexibility, which assists with overall employee engagement.

University departments may consider creating a departmental approach to FWAs to assist supervisors in making decisions, since the operational needs of departments vary. All employees working with FWAs must perform their duties just as effectively, or more effectively, than they would perform their duties without the FWA. To support fair and equitable treatment, supervisors should permit the same flexible work arrangement options for employees in similarly situated roles in their units, unless there is a documented legitimate business need for the differentiation.

A FWA may consist of flextime, a job share, compressed workweek, flexible work location, or in limited exceptions, fully remote work.

The University retains discretion to discontinue FWAs in the best interest of the unit/department at any time.

Eligibility

HR staff employees (full-time and part-time) who are in good performance standing, may be eligible for a FWA, although FWAs are not suitable for all roles.

For union employees, please consult your collective bargaining agreement.

Factors for consideration in evaluating flexible work arrangement requests include the following:

  • Is the request consistent with the department’s approach to flexible work arrangements?
  • Is the requested flexible work arrangement considered reasonable, given the employee’s position and essential job functions?
  • Can the employee perform their role just as effectively, or more effectively, with the flexible work arrangement?
  • Are the operational, supervisory, and staffing needs in the unit/department adequate to ensure proper coverage?
  • Would the flexible work arrangement negatively impact other employees’ overall work or the team’s overall functioning? 
  • What specific dates/events/circumstances must the role be onsite?
  • How does the requested flexible work arrangement compare to similarly situated roles in the unit to ensure fair and equitable treatment?
  • What has been the team member’s performance level, i.e., is the individual in good standing?
  • How will performance be managed under the flexible work arrangement?
  • Is the supervisor trained and equipped to effectively manage a flexible work arrangement?
Definitions
Flextime

Variations in arrival and departure times are permitted, but should not alter the total number of hours worked in a workweek. Refer to policy 5.1.2 Work Schedules and Breaks. Where possible, arrival and departure times for individual employees can be staggered to meet both the needs of the employee and the unit or department. Supervisors must ensure that there is adequate supervision during the staggered hours.

Example: 36.25-hour workweek/7.25-hour workday: Start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:15 p.m., with an hour lunch.

Compressed Workweek

Change to Full-time 36.25- or 40-hour workweek condensed into fewer than five workdays.

Example: 4-day workweek with 4 days of 10 hours daily to equal 40 hours weekly

Job Share

Form of regular part-time 50 percent work in which two people share the responsibilities of one regular, full-time position; refer to policy 6.1.3 Employment in Two Departments.

Example: Two employees share one position with one employee working mornings and the other employee working afternoons.

Flexible Work Location

Supervisors may permit employees to work some hours/days during the week from a location other than onsite on a regular basis.

Example: Employee continually works one day per week from their home located in New Jersey.

Infrequent, occasional work (typically lasting less than one month) performed offsite shall not require a flexible work arrangement.

Fully Remote Work

With some limited exceptions, positions require onsite presence and in-person interactions. The University may permit some positions to have a fully remote work arrangement at the supervisor’s and department’s discretion, and on an exception basis. In a fully remote work arrangement, the expectation is that the employee will complete all of their work remotely. The fully remote employee will not have an onsite workspace. Occasional work onsite shall not detract from the fully remote classification if the institution’s expectation is that the employee completes all of their work remotely. Supervisors need to notify and consult with the Office of Human Resources (OHR) and the Office of Finance and Treasury (OFT) for guidance regarding additional considerations that may be implicated by a fully remote work arrangement.

Application of the Policy
  1. The process begins with the employee completing the FWA Request Form. The supervisor reviews the request and considers the employee’s job duties in relation to the operational needs and interests of the unit and department, among other considerations.
  2. The supervisor returns the FWA Request Form either granting or denying the request and providing the supporting rationale, if denied. If granted, the supervisor follows up with a FWA Letter, which confirms that the FWA is granted and explains the expectations and terms. Both the employee and supervisor should maintain copies of the documentation. Supervisors should review the flexible work arrangement and its application on a regular basis, and on a formal basis every six months, which should include an updated FWA letter.
  3. A designated department representative should maintain the documentation regarding the FWAs of all HR staff in their respective department.
Roles & Responsibilities

Supervisor

  • Consults within the supervisor’s department regarding the department’s overall approach to flexible work arrangements 
  • Reviews workplace operational needs, interests, and assesses possibilities for and impact of the flexible work arrangement.
  • Reviews and grants or denies employee’s Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form
  • Engages in dialogue with employee to discuss the implications of implementing a flexible work arrangement and the importance of ensuring operations are not adversely affected
  • Provides employee with a Flexible Work Arrangement Letter explaining the terms and expectations of the flexible work arrangement if granted
  • Explains that payroll tax responsibilities implicated in any state other than New Jersey or Pennsylvania, for flexible work locations, are the responsibility of the employee as outlined in the Flexible Work Arrangement Letter
  • Explains that the employee must abide by the University’s technology policy and protect University information when working offsite as outlined in the Flexible Work Arrangement Letter
  • Explains that the employee is responsible for the cost of any necessary equipment, internet, and phone connections when working offsite as outlined in the Flexible Work Arrangement Expense Guidance and Flexible Work Arrangement Letter
  • Explains that the employee is responsible for maintaining a safe designated workspace when working offsite as outlined in the Flexible Work Arrangement Letter
  • For nonexempt staff requests, if relevant to FWA, explains how overtime pay is calculated, and ensures there is a documented process for recording overtime for bi-weekly employees and part-time employees for hours worked; refer to policy 6.1.1 Overtime Pay
  • For nonexempt staff, if relevant to FWA, explains the break policy; refer to policy 5.1.2 Work Schedules and Breaks
  • For exempt staff requests, explains the requirement to work the number of hours needed to complete job responsibilities and that completion of job responsibilities may at times override the FWA
  • Reviews workplace needs and the FWA on a regular basis and formally every six months
  • Discontinues arrangements that are not serving the best interest of the unit/ department
  • For fully remote work, consults with OHR and OFT for guidance
  • Forwards copies of the FWA documentation to the designated department representative for filing

Employee

  • Requests FWA in writing with the Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form
  • Engages in dialogue with the employee’s supervisor if the supervisor has questions about the employee’s FWA request  
  • Notifies supervisor of any change in circumstances that may require a change to the FWA (e.g., request to work in a different flexible work location than originally requested)
  • Follows thefull conditions set forth in the Flexible Work Arrangement Letter from the employee’s supervisor, which explains the terms and expectations of the FWA
  • Adheres to payroll tax responsibilities implicated in any state other than New Jersey or Pennsylvania for flexible work locations
  • Ensures secure technology) access from the Office of Information Technology and protects University information when working offsite
  • Covers cost of any necessary equipment, internet, and phone connections when working offsite Flexible Work Arrangement Expense Guidance
  • Maintains safe designated workspace when working offsite
  • Covers additional personal expenses, if necessary, to work just as effectively, or more effectively, when working offsite

Human Resources

  • Consults with supervisor as needed on the flexible work arrangement
Update Log

10/4/2019: Updated definitions, clarification of policy parameters, and added reference to Remote Work Arrangements Policy

2/21/2020: Updated system name from "Time Collection" to "Time and Absence Management"

3/16/2020: Updated to relax procedures during pandemic

8/1/2021: Updated definitions, clarification of policy parameters, included the category listed in the former Remote Work Arrangement policy, and added supervisor references and links