Compressed Work Schedules

A compressed work schedule is an alternative work arrangement that allows a staff member to work their traditional workweek in less than five days. For example, a full-time staff member could work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.

Advantages

  • Staff members working compressed work weeks may spend less time commuting during a given week.
  • Staff members working compressed work weeks have more time outside of work to take care of personal responsibilities; as a result they can be more focused on the tasks at hand during their scheduled work time.
  • Staff members working compressed work weeks may be more productive during the hours outside of the traditional workday, when fewer staff members are present.
  • Compressed work weeks can improve work area coverage and extend the hours of service to internal and external customers.
  • Another option is a nine day/two week work arrangement, which allows for two weeks of work to be compressed into nine or nine and a half days of work. This is popular with staff members who want some flexibility in their schedule and do not mind extra time built into the beginning or end of the work day, but do not want the long days compressed work week require.  This does not apply to hourly staff due to FLSA requirements.

Challenges

  • The longer workday may be physically and mentally draining.
  • It may be a challenge to sustain morale among staff members who work long days but do not have the opportunity to work a compressed work week.
  • Trust issues may be a factor.  For example, if a staff member is scheduled to come in one hour before the supervisor and the rest of the staff, are they at work at the agreed upon time?
  • Staff members may find it difficult to arrange dependent care or transportation around the longer workday.
  • The nine day/two week is not an option for hourly staff members. According to the FLSA, all hourly  staff members who work in excess of 40 hours in a standard workweek or 80 hours in a pay period are eligible for overtime pay. Overtime pay is calculated at the rate of 1.5  times the staff member's regular rate of pay. Additionally, the Department of Labor and GVSU payroll practices dictate that pay be received in the period in which the work is performed. It would be very difficult to work out varying pay amounts weekly to respond to alternating work schedules to accommodate this arrangement. For example, for a total of 70 hours over two weeks of work, 40 hours one week and 30 hours the next would require a hourly staff member to receive different pay for each week of work.
  • If a FWA is agreed to, typically a staff member will be able to return to their original work arrangement.  However, this should be discussed during the approval process.