Alternative schedules benefit staff, UNM
By Susan Carkeek
One of the many advantages of working at UNM is the quality of work life. While many factors contribute to this, a major benefit is the ability to provide some employees alternative work schedules.
The benefits of alternative work arrangements extend beyond individual departments and even beyond UNM. Some of the benefits have been well documented in other organizations:
· Higher morale and reduced stress
· Improved service by expanding department hours
· Retention of valued staff
· Increased staff productivity
· More time for personal and family interests
· Increased availability for participation in educational programs and community service projects
The options for alternative work arrangements fall under four general categories: flexible scheduling, compressed workweeks, telecommuting and job sharing.
The degree of flexibility is limited in work schedules by federal law. The Fair Labor Standards Act categorizes employees into two groups, “Exempt” and “Non-Exempt.” In the UNM payroll system, non-exempt employees are paid bi-weekly and are subject to mandatory overtime and must be paid for any hours worked over 40 in a one-week period. This limitation has the greatest effect on the alternative work arrangement we can offer a non-exempt employee. Exempt employees do not receive overtime allowing for more flexible work schedules. University Policy and collective bargaining agreements are two other factors that must be considered when allowing employees to work non-traditional schedules.
When considering alternative work arrangements, the primary responsibility of a supervisor is to maintain the efficiency and continuity of operations. Given that, it is evident that not all jobs are conducive to alternative work schedules. For more information, read HR’s publication, “A Manager’s Guide to Alternative Work Arrangements” at http://www.unm.edu/~hr/managers/. Contact your HR consultant for specific advice regarding alternative work arrangements.