University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

University of Southern California’s Division of Student Affairs Flexibility in the Workplace

Policy Statement

USC provides flexible work arrangements, at the discretion of department heads or their designees, to enable staff and management to serve customers well, meet university goals, and balance personal and professional responsibilities.

Reason for Policy

The university recognizes the growing demands on staff while at work and the increasing challenge of finding new and better ways to serve customers and meet university goals. Flexibility in the workplace can provide a way to manage people, time, space and workload more effectively, efficiently and responsively.

Who Should Read This Policy

Contents

This policy is borrowed heavily from Cornell University, MIT and the University of Kentucky

Definition of Terms

Flextime

A flexible scheduling arrangement that permits variations in starting and departure times, but does not alter the total number of hours worked in a workweek.

Compressed Schedule

A flexible scheduling arrangement allows an employee to work their total hours within nine days and the tenth day they do not report to work.

Job Sharing

A form of regular part-time work in which two people share the responsibilities of one regular, full-time position.

Supervisor

The individual in a department, unit, office or section with primary responsibility for the regular and customary supervision of individual positions. The supervisory duties generally include hiring, salary, discipline, performance evaluation and work assignment decisions.

Overview

USC has established specific tools and guidelines, outlined in this document, for implementation of and legal compliance with three separate flexible work arrangement options: flextime, job sharing and compressed schedule. The use of these guidelines should be the result of open and ongoing discussions within each department or unit.

The determination of whether a staff member will be allowed to participate in flextime, job sharing or compressed schedule, will be made on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the needs, requirements and constraints of both the unit and the staff member. If an employee has a dispute regarding a decision under this policy, it should be brought, as soon as possible, to the attention of the supervisor, who will discuss the matter with the employee in order to resolve it. For more assistance, contact the college, department or unit’s human resource representative. Final approval and arrangements for situations covered by this policy are at the discretion of management, and are not grievable.

Note: The criteria for flexible work arrangements set forth in this document are general guidelines; departments and units may choose to uphold criteria that are more restrictive.

This policy provides procedures for staff and administrators when considering, initiating, and maintaining flexible arrangements.

Exempt employees are not covered by the overtime and record keeping (i.e., time card) requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, there is inherent flexibility in work scheduling for them. Even though the law allows this latitude, exempt staff members still need to discuss specific scheduling arrangements with their supervisors and obtain their approval.

Caution: In certain instances, Family and Medical Leave is a more appropriate option than flextime, job sharing or compressed schedule. For more information on Family and Medical Leave, contact the Benefits Office.

Flextime and Compressed Schedule

Consistent with the university’s strategy of accommodation, and in keeping with business needs, USC’s flextime and compressed schedule option is available in certain instances. Flextime allows for flexible scheduling arrangements that permit variations in starting and departure times, but does not alter the total number of hours worked in a workweek. However, under the compressed schedule option the employee will actually work more hours within a nine day period and then have the tenth day off. Flextime and compressed schedule can be used to improve coverage, enhance recruitment, extend service hours, enhance staff morale, and reduce tardiness.

All flextime and compressed schedule arrangements must conform to the overtime, record keeping, and meal break provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the California State Labor Law, respectively, for staff covered by those provisions. Final approval and arrangements for flextime situations are at the discretion of management.

Flextime and Compressed Schedule Arrangements

There are a variety of options in flexible scheduling that may be workable for staff and supervisors. It is recommended that agreed-upon flextime, flexscheduling, and compressed schedule arrangements be implemented on a trial basis. A trial period will give everyone the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the flextime schedule. Flextime schedules can be modified as needed.

Note: To ensure that management and staff have a mutual understanding of the specifics of the flextime schedule, it should be put in writing. Any modifications in the schedule may be made only with the prior consent of management.

Some of the possible variations in the use of flextime are:

Caution: For non-exempt staff, supervisors must pre-approve all hours to be worked in excess of the regularly scheduled 40 in any workweek.

Core Time

Unit business needs may require that staff be present or accessible during a certain core period of hours each work day or peak work load periods, for example, those surrounding the noon period. Core time may also include the requirement for staff to be present during a particular day of the week. Core time may be necessary in any of the above flextime and compressed schedule arrangements.

Leave Time Usage

A staff member on a flextime schedule who is granted paid leave time, such as vacation or sick leave, will deduct the number of hours scheduled to work on the day(s) off. For example, 10 hours of vacation would be deducted if a staff member uses vacation on a day with 10 scheduled work hours. This method of using paid leave time applies to all paid leave time as specified in the Human Resources Policy Manual, except for holidays as described below.

Discontinuation

If the flextime arrangement becomes unfeasible at any time, it may be discontinued at the discretion of either the staff member or management, with reasonable notice thereof.

Job Sharing

Consistent with the university’s strategy of accommodation, and in keeping with business needs, USC’s job sharing option, in which two individuals share the responsibilities of one regular full-time position, is available to staff members in certain instances. By enhancing flexibility within the workplace, job sharing can provide many benefits, including: reduced absenteeism; improved recruitment and retention of valued staff; improved scheduling and continuity; increased breadth of skills and experience; allowance for unusual schedule needs of staff; and experience in working as a successful team. Final approval and arrangements for job sharing situations are at the discretion of management.

Time Commitment

Job sharing positions are regular part-time and as such must involve at least a 50% commitment. Therefore, the time commitment of each of the two individuals participating must be at least 20 hours per workweek.

Note: The university encourages other various time commitment arrangements, at the discretion of management, which may not be considered job sharing. Certain individuals participating in such arrangements may not be eligible for university benefits.

Compensation

Since job sharing positions are regular and part-time, the university’s wage and salary policies for regular positions apply in job share arrangements. Benefits eligibility for those participating in job sharing will be the same as for all regular part-time staff.

Procedures for Supervisors

Either a staff member or a supervisor may recognize the need for job sharing; and either may introduce the option. Below are procedures for supervisors.

Option A: When the supervisor recognizes the need for job sharing

If a situation arises in which job sharing may be appropriate for a position under your supervision, use the procedures outlined below:

  1. Consider, at a minimum, the following factors:
    • the advantages of a job sharing situation;
    • the ability to restructure the position for clear division of responsibilities;
    • the availability of space and equipment (will members of the team need to work at the same time?);
    • training and other indirect administrative overhead;
    • schedule/continuity (will the team need to overlap/substitute?).
  2. If you have determined that job sharing may be appropriate, discuss the job sharing arrangement in detail with the individual(s) who will be involved, to help in your final decision of whether to establish the job sharing arrangement.
  3. If you and the individual(s) involved determine that job sharing is appropriate and acceptable for this position, follow the standard university procedures for filling a vacancy. Contact your local human resource representative for assistance*.
  4. Provide a copy of the Job Share Expectations Checklist to the staff member involved in the job sharing before beginning the arrangement, and to the prospective employee before offering the job sharing employment. Discuss these expectations with each of these individuals**.

*Note: The search for an individual to fill a job share position must comply with university policies.

**Note: If the job share position is one that is being created at the request of the current full-time incumbent, it is strongly recommended that the incumbent participate in the interview process for the vacant half of the position.

Option B: When the staff member proposes the job sharing arrangement

  1. Consider, at a minimum, the following factors:
    • the advantages of a job sharing situation;
    • the ability to restructure the position for clear division of responsibilities;
    • the availability of space and equipment (will members of the team need to work at the same time?);
    • training and other indirect administrative overhead;
    • schedule/continuity (will the team need to overlap/substitute?).
  2. Meet with the individual in a timely manner to discuss the proposal in detail. This discussion may include ways in which the proposal may be modified to meet business needs.
  3. If you determine that job sharing is appropriate and acceptable for this position, follow the standard university procedures for filling a vacancy. Contact your local human resource representative for assistance.
  4. If you determine that job sharing is not appropriate for this position, provide the involved staff member(s) with a brief explanation.

Procedures for Staff Members

If you are a staff member interested in requesting that your current full time position be modified to that of a job share, do the following:

  1. Submit a written proposal to the appropriate supervisor*. The proposal must include the following:
    • reason for the request (e.g., schedule flexibility);
    • advantage to the unit (e.g., retention of valued staff);
    • proposed work plan (i.e., how tasks/duties will be divided);
    • proposed schedule (i.e., how work hours will be divided);
    • plan for communication/cooperation (how the team members will communicate with each other, with management and with co-workers);
    • plan for continuity (e.g., will the team members be willing to fill in for each other or want to be able to trade work schedules?);
    • other (e.g., when does the staff member want to start?).
  2. The supervisor will review the written proposal and meet with you in a timely manner to discuss it in detail. This discussion may include ways in which the proposal may be modified to meet business needs.
  3. If a job share arrangement is approved, you will be provided with a Job Share Expectations Checklist. You must review it before starting the arrangement.
  4. If a job share arrangement is not approved, management will provide you with a brief explanation. A negative decision is not a grievable action.

*Note: It is your responsibility to research the implications to your salary and benefits before accepting a job sharing position.

Job Share Expectations Checklist

The Job Share Expectations Checklist will assist in specifying the particular details of a job share arrangement, to ensure that the staff member and management have a mutual understanding of the terms of the arrangement. This document must be reviewed by the parties to finalize details of the job share before the final offer of a job share is made. Examples of some of the specifics that are addressed on this form are:

Leave Time Usage

A staff member working in a job sharing arrangement who is granted paid leave time, such as vacation or sick leave, will deduct the number of hours scheduled to work on the day(s) the time off is taken. For example, four hours of vacation would be deducted if a staff member uses vacation on the day he or she was scheduled to work four hours. This method of using paid leave time applies to all paid leave situations provided for in the Human Resources Policy Manual except for holidays, as described below.

Holiday Pay

All regular staff members will receive pro-rated pay equal to 1/5 of their standard workweeks for university holidays.

If One Party Leaves

If one of the participants in a job sharing arrangement leaves the position, it may be necessary, if the search for a replacement has failed, for the unit head to require that the remaining employee choose between taking on the full-time responsibilities of the position or leaving it.

Respectfully submitted by: Judi Biggs Garbuio, Lori Shreve-Blake, Noosha Malek, K.C. Mmeje, Paula Swinford, Vincent Vigil