OPM outlines flexible work schedule options

As agencies reopen, the Office of Personnel Management has some suggestions on how agencies can use flexible work schedules (FWS) to keep employees safe and help them balance their professional duties with caregiving and other responsibilities. 

FWS allow employees to complete their biweekly work requirements on their own schedule within agency limits -- which may include daily or weekly requirements -- by varying their starting and stopping (or arrival and departure) times or by varying the length of the workday and the workweek. A full-time employee’s basic work requirement must include 80 hours per biweekly pay period, OPM stated.

 “Agencies will need to make decisions on which FWS to adopt or modify based on the impact of COVID-19 on the agency’s mission and employees,” OPM said. “Supervisors should communicate the flexibilities and work schedule(s) that are available to their employees, along with their expectations for employees electing to use any new flexibilities.”

The fact sheet also explains the components of an FWS and discusses how the program affects premium pay – overtime, comp time, night pay and holiday pay. It also reminded agencies that when choosing to implement or change an FWS, they must review any applicable collective bargaining agreements or satisfy appropriate collective bargaining obligations.

“When combined with telework, FWS can provide agencies with the flexibility to maintain safe social distance between employees in the workplace by reducing the percentage of employees who are in the office at any given time,” OPM said. 

Reader comments

Tue, Jun 16, 2020

Employees that can continue to meet agency mission while teleworking should be encouraged and allowed to do so until a vaccine is available. There is no point risking safety when we can telework. If people want to return that is fine but should not be mandatory and shouldn’t matter the grade. As long as the work gets done, it shouldn’t matter where it gets done. It’s 2020!

Fri, May 29, 2020 PHILADELPHIA PA

EMPLOYEE OF DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.I SUGGEST WE STAGGER THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN THE OFFICE.CERTAIN NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES TELEWORK A MONTH THEN RETURN TO OFFICE A MONTH WITH A CONTINOUS ROTATION UNTIL A VACCINE HAS BEEN DEVELOPED.

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