Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA)
We appreciate the dedication of our faculty and staff during the pandemic, and understand the benefits many employees have seen by working remotely. Where possible and appropriate, we encourage department leaders to be flexible. However, some university activities are best conducted on campus, and a vibrant physical campus is necessary to creating an engaging and dynamic culture. All employees regardless of position are expected to be on campus for at least part of their work week to continue facilitating a culture of collaboration, engagement, and community.
Please contact your Human Resources Consultant with any questions.
FWA Guidelines and General Information
Effective February 21, 2023
- Types of Flexible Work Arrangements
A supervisor has the discretion to approve various types of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) upon an employee's request.
The university recognizes the following types of FWAs. NOTE: An FWA can be used in combination with other FWA offerings as listed below. Example: An employee approved for Remote Work could also have an approved Alternative, Flex Time, or Compressed schedule.
Employee's immediate supervisor of record.
Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA)
Work schedules and work locations that fall outside of a department's established schedule and location(s). See the FWA options listed in the Definitions below.
Remote Work & Hybrid Work
Remote Work is working from home or other locations outside of the campus on a regular or varying basis. Hybrid work is a combination of on-campus and off-campus working. The university reserves the right to specify a required minimum number of weekly on-campus work days. This number may vary based on position type and other criteria, to include critical needs and peak academic and operational times. (Please refer to #1 and #2 in the FWA Policy for further details.)
Flexible work hours in which starting and ending times can vary by the day at the employee's choice, with supervisor approval of the arrangement, but with noted core business hours (core hours) of operation during which the employee must work. Core hours are determined by the department leadership based on operational and academic needs. For example, core hours could be from 10am to 3pm Monday - Friday. The employee still works their regular number of total scheduled hours (full or part time) per week plus any approved overtime. Employees cannot utilize lunch periods and break time to meet their daily/weekly work hour requirements.
A schedule adjustment allowing the employee to change their start and end times, and this becomes their normal work schedule. Applies to full-time schedules 37.5 hours (or 40 hours). Example: A schedule of 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. as opposed to 8:30 a.m. 5:00 p.m. (37.5 hours). Once agreed upon the schedule remains consistent until an approved change is made. Employees cannot utilize lunch periods and break time to meet their daily/weekly work hour requirements.
A 37.5-hour (or 40-hour) work week compressed into fewer than five work days; typically, 4 days. This FWA type is usually offered for department wide usage for specified periods (summer months, as an example) but could be used by individuals as well. If it a department wide initiative, individual employees may opt out. Compressed work weeks can be modified or cancelled at management's discretion due to holidays or other operational and academic needs. Employees cannot utilize lunch periods and break time to meet work day/week hour requirements.
FWA Decision Criteria Guide
Guide to assist managers in determining a position's eligibility for an FWA and the type(s) of FWAs that are appropriate. Click here for FWA Decision Criteria Guide.
Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form
Web-based form to be completed by the employee to request an FWA.This form is submitted to and reviewed by the employee's supervisor. The supervisor makes the decision to approve/deny, or modify the request. Once complete, the form is submitted for electronic recordkeeping. Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form
Nothing herein shall restrict or otherwise interfere with an employee's rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). These guidelines do not apply to an employee's request for leave under the FMLA or a request for a reasonable accommodation for a medical condition under the ADA. Requests for FMLA leave must be made through FMLA Source. Requests for a reasonable accommodation for a disability under the ADA must be made through the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO).
Employees must have employment authorization for each proposed work location. For individuals who are on an Immigration status, (e.g. H-1B, TN, E-3 or J-1 status-holders), a change or addition of employment location (including permission to work remotely) may result in the need to update the individual's immigration record or the filing of an amendment petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If this applies, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) for further information.
- About Flexible Work Arrangements
Since its inception, Wayne State University has established a deep culture supported by in-person learning/research and work with robust face to face experiences for students and staff. A vibrant physical campus is necessary for optimizing learning and to create an engaging and dynamic campus culture. The university also recognizes, however, the benefits of offering Flexible Work Arrangements to its employees under appropriate circumstances and has established these guidelines and general information to assist leaders and staff in determining the appropriateness of FWAs for themselves and/or their staff.
Some Potential Benefits of FWAs, When Successful:
- Increased employee engagement and productivity; Less interruptions can mean more work accomplishments
- Opportunity to improve flexibility, work-life balance, and job satisfaction/engagement
- Improved employee retention
- Extended office and service hours
- Possible reduction of commuting time and other work-related costs
- Enhanced candidate recruiting capability
- On-Campus Requirements
- The university reserves the right to specify a required minimum number of weekly on-campus workdays. For positions that are suitable for an FWA, staff can work a maximum of 2 remote days per week as approved by their supervisor. Requests for non-temporary increases to the 2-day maximum remote work schedule must be approved by the Dean or Assistant/Associate Vice President of the employee's department/unit.
Specific employee classes or positions needed during peak/critical times will be determined by the department/unit management to ensure an appropriate level of staffing resources. However, staff may be required to work onsite additional days per week during peak/critical operating times as determined by their department/unit management. Department supervisors will determine those times and communicate such needs to staff and, when possible, a notice of 10 (ten) days will be provided. Supervisors will work with their department's leadership, as necessary, to determine employee schedules based on the above requirements. The FWA Decision Criteria Guide can be helpful to assess scheduling needs.
- Supervisor's Guide for Considering an FWA Request and Managing Employees on Approved FWAs
Supervisors should adhere to the following guidelines for eligibility and suitability when considering an employee's request for an FWA and managing employees on an approved FWA:
FWA's apply to full-time and fractional-time university employees including non-faculty academic staff.
It is within management's sole discretion to determine if a job is eligible for an FWA. Not all positions may be eligible to participate due to the nature of the positions requiring specific work locations and schedules (e.g., critical infrastructure workers). All academic staff classifications are eligible to be considered for an FWA. Under normal circumstances, instructional employees and those with teaching responsibilities will not be eligible for an FWA. Individuals on probation, corrective action, a performance improvement plan, or with less than satisfactory job performance, may not be eligible for an FWA.
Supervisors have the authority to authorize an FWA based on differences in positions, roles, employee class, position level or for temporary extenuating circumstances, as needed, which are outside of the normal guidelines. This will be done on an individual basis and is dependent on the employee's request and the academic and/or operational needs of the unit. Such exceptions should be on a temporary basis.
Management also has the authority to modify the manner and/or timing of how/when job duties are performed to accommodate an employee's FWA request, subject to compliance with any applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and university policies, so that employees may have the opportunity for an FWA, even if on a periodic basis.
Supervisor approval is necessary for all FWA requests. Should the request be denied, the supervisor will provide the reason to the employee. Decisions to approve or deny an FWA request must be based on clear, academic, and/or operational and non-discriminatory reasons. Any such decision should be based on the guidelines set forth below.
Employees who have questions about FWAs or who may need special considerations should contact their supervisor, and then their Human Resources Consultant, if still needed to discuss their needs. Employees who may need an FWA accommodation due to health concerns should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO).
Determine an employee's eligibility for an FWA based on:
- The nature of the employee's position. Review the employee's job description and contact your HR Consultant if updates are required. Job descriptions are essential and required for determining a job's eligibility for an FWA. For additional assistance, please utilize the FWA Decision Criteria Guide.
- The likelihood the employee will be able to perform the essential functions of the position while on an FWA at the same or higher level of performance as when not on an FWA.
- The need for face-to-face interaction with students, co-workers, clients/customers or vendors. As stated above, under normal circumstances, instructional employees and those with teaching responsibilities will not be eligible for an FWA.
- The employee's ability to communicate effectively to co-workers and other contacts as required while they are on an FWA.
- The employee's performance and disciplinary history. Employees must have a current minimum performance rating of Meets Expectations in order to have an FWA request approved. Employees with current performance or disciplinary concerns may not be eligible for an FWA. Supervisors are advised to contact their HR Consultant to discuss such requests.
- The employee's ability to work independently, with minimal support and supervision.
- If the employee has the appropriate equipment, technology, and systems access for remote connectivity when working remotely. Employees can only use approved university software and networks. The university will provide computer and related equipment for a single workstation and will not be able to provide employees with duplicate equipment for remote work. It will become the employee's responsibility to have appropriate equipment if working remotely.
- The need and frequency for on-site presence based on when and where the job duties are best performed. This may take into account, for example, the need for special equipment, lab work, face to face interaction, or a high level of confidentiality.
- How faculty/student/client interaction may be affected by an employee's FWA.
- Other academic and/or operational considerations.
The employee and supervisor are expected to discuss the details and rationale for the FWA request prior to the supervisor's final determination. Supervisors will communicate to the employee their decision to approve or deny the FWA request and the rationale for their decision. This decision should be made and communicated within a reasonable period of time, with 10 (ten) workdays as a suggested timeframe. Supervisors can consider an employee's FWA request at a later date if the current timing and/or circumstances do not allow for approval of the original request.
Employees who disagree with their supervisor's decision should contact their Human Resources Consultant to assist in reaching a resolution. The Human Resource Consultant's role is not as a decision maker in the process; but to advise and facilitate a potential solution.
If an FWA request is not approved and the employee cannot reach an agreement with their supervisor, the employee will contact their HR Consultant to discuss the nature of the concern. HR Consultant will discuss the employee's concern with the supervisor and seek to facilitate a resolution. If a resolution is not achieved, the employee may request that the HR Consultant elevate the concern for resolution to the 2nd level manager. The 2nd level manager will review the concern and make a determination on the request and the decision will be final.
For AAUP-AFT Local 6075 represented staff:
If an FWA request is not approved or an approved FWA is removed by the supervisor, the employee may appeal the decision within 10 working days to one level above their supervisor. In most cases this will be to the dean/vice president or their designee. The dean/vice president's decision is final. Should the dean/vice president deny the request, the reason for denial will be provided to the employee. If the dean/vice president is the immediate supervisor, the request to reconsider is done by the Provost or their designee. The Provost's decision is final.
Other Factors to Note
- Flexible Work Arrangement Duration FWAs will be approved for a maximum of 1 year based on the academic year (August 1 July 31) and are not guaranteed to be renewed or extended longer than the period originally approved. Approved FWA's can by renewed by employees submitting a new FWA Request via the FWA Request Form within sixty (60) days, if possible, of their current FWAs expiration. Supervisors will communicate the decision to renew or not renew to the employee within a reasonable time prior to the expiration of their current FWA.
- Employees can request changes to an existing FWA by completing a FWA Request Form and submitting it to their supervisor within 10 (ten) workdays of the desired change start date.
- FWAs are subject to be continued/discontinued, suspended, or modified at any time at the discretion of the supervisor or at the request of the employee. When discontinuing or modifying an FWA, employees and supervisors should provide a reasonable notice period whenever possible. A minimum notice period of 10 (ten) workdays is suggested to be provided by both parties. Shorter or longer notice periods may be appropriate, depending on the needs of the department and employee. Supervisors are encouraged to work with employees to achieve a successful transition when an FWA is discontinued or modified. FWAs can also be modified or terminated at any time. However, when possible, the university will provide a 30-day notice to employees.
- Dependent Care - Remote working cannot be used as an alternative method to provide dependent care. Employees should not have dependent care responsibilities during work hours.
- Know where your employees are performing remote work. Employees are required to inform their supervisor if their usual remote work location changes to a location other than originally approved. Employees are not permitted to change remote work locations to a state outside of Michigan or a country outside the United States without first informing and obtaining approval from their supervisor and Human Resources.
- Employees are required to inform their supervisor if their usual remote work location changes to a location other than originally approved. Employees are not permitted to change remote work locations to a state outside of Michigan.
- New Hires/Transfers/Promotions and Changes in Supervision An FWA may be given to new hires and continued for transferred/promoted employees but is subject to be modified or cancelled by the supervisor based on the employee's new role and/or their performance in their new role. If there is a change in supervision, a current FWA will not automatically remain in effect. A new FWA request will need to be submitted to the new supervisor for their review and consideration for approval.
- Supervisors should be careful to avoid unfairly distributing work to other employees in order to accommodate another employee's FWA. Also, be careful not to unfairly impact employees working on campus due to other employees working remotely. An employee on an FWA is responsible for performing all of their own job duties.
- Communicate clear expectations on assignments, deliverables, deadlines, response times, methods of communication, and work hours/schedules. Employees in an overtime eligible position are required to adhere to all attendance and time reporting requirements including receiving approval to work overtime. Working unapproved overtime may result in disciplinary action.
- If performance expectations are not met, discuss the concerns with the employee and work to develop a plan to resolve the concerns to promote accountability and improvement. Less than satisfactory performance may result in the suspension or discontinuance of the FWA.
- Temporary FWAs should be documented by the supervisor so as to not create confusion about the terms and/or duration of the FWA. There should be a clear end date even if estimated at the time of the request.
- For additional guidance, please refer to the remainder of this document and/or contact your Human Resources Consultant.
Supervisors are Encouraged to Take the Following Actions in Managing Employees on Approved FWAs:
- Conduct regular check-ins. Continue normally scheduled meetings with employees and instruct they are expected to do the same; keep an inclusive mindset and avoid out of sight, out of mind perspectives.
- Be sensitive and supportive to the challenges and perceptions which can arise from flexible schedules and remote work arrangements. Employees on an approved FWA, may not be in the office some days and/or may have differing work schedules.
- Stay connected with employees working remotely to promote interaction and collaboration with the team. Consistent, frequent communication is one of the keys for a successful FWA.
- Acknowledge successes with FWAs to encourage employee adaptability and continued success.
- Assess the FWA periodically to determine if adjustments need to be made. Check in with the employee; specifically, about how both of you believe the FWA is working. Document significant issues that arise due to an employee being on an FWA, including, for example, a decrease in employee performance.
- Attend the learning opportunities available through Organizational and Employee Development and Accelerate to help with managing employees on FWAs, when they become available.
- Employee Requirements for Requesting and Working on an FWA
All employees should discuss their potential eligibility for an FWA with their supervisor. Eligible employees are required to submit the FWA Request Form to their supervisor for consideration. Please provide all required information.
Employees Who Seek an FWA Must Comply with the Following:
- Review the APPM Policy 3.4.7 - Flexible Work Arrangements to familiarize yourself with the university policy and procedures.
- Review this Guidelines and General Information (this website).
- Have a clear understanding of your job duties (based largely on your job description), goals and supervisor expectations.
- Fully comply with any approved FWA request and all applicable policies and guidelines.
- If working remotely, understand the expectations to perform your job duties remain the same as if you are working from your office (e.g., attend meetings remotely, interface with your co-workers as required, be responsive during established work hours, and complete assigned work timely).
- Be available to work in person on campus if requested. In such cases, a "replacement" remote work day may be requested, but is not required to be provided by the university. Please note that you will not be reimbursed for mileage if you are required to come to work on campus on a remote work day.
- Employees are required to inform their supervisor if their usual remote work location changes to a location other than originally approved. Employees are not permitted to change remote work locations to a state outside of Michigan or a country outside of the United States without first informing and obtaining approval from their supervisor and Human Resources.
- Choosing your workspace is important. Privacy and ergonomic considerations are critical to comfort, safety, and success. Employees are responsible for establishing a safe and secure workspace when working remotely.
- Employees agree to maintain, for the purposes of Worker's Compensation liability, the hours and location of work stated in the agreement. The supervisor must be notified timely if there is a change. Employees also agree to maintain a reasonably safe remote work environment, free from known hazards that could cause an occupational injury/illness. Any work-related injuries or safety issues experienced when working remotely need to be reported timely following the reporting guidelines outlined at https://risk.wayne.edu/
- It is the employee's responsibility to keep any university equipment secure and in good condition. An employee may be responsible for loss of or damage to university equipment and must report loss or damage to their supervisor and C&IT immediately.
- Employees accept responsibility for complying with any requirements of their supervisor relating to maintaining the security, condition, and confidentiality, if required, of all work-related information, data, documents, and other materials kept at their remote workplace or stored on personal electronic equipment. In the event of a breach of security or if university information is lost or stolen, the employee will immediately report the incident to their supervisor.
- Employees will perform work only on university networks with university software. Employees will only access university networks through secure VPN access software.
- For remote work, familiarize yourself with remote access, forward your office phone to your cell/home phone, and obtain key IT contact information. For C&IT assistance with remote login to university systems contact C&IT via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 313-577-HELP.
- Keep your supervisor informed of any challenges you may have working with your FWA or if you require a different schedule. When beginning any new FWA, there will be challenges and adjustments, so please keep your supervisor informed so they may help resolve issues and ensure the FWA experience is successful to the extent possible. Employees who need to request a change to or end their FWA, even if temporarily, should provide, at minimum, a ten (10) work day notice to their supervisor.
- For Flexible, Alternative and Compressed Work schedules, employees are accountable to meet the agreed upon schedule. Desired changes must be discussed and approved by the supervisor.
- Ensure you have a copy of your FWA Request and be willing to discuss any necessary adjustments as needed with your supervisor to help promote effective and efficient operations.
- An FWA should not cause additional work for co-workers or your supervisor.
Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in suspension or termination of your Flexible Work Arrangement.
- Additional Considerations for Employees
For Flex Time and Alternative Schedule Requests
- If you are requesting a change to your current work schedule, consider how an FWA would affect you personally, how it would affect your ability to do your job, and the impact it would have on your work group.
- Consider how an FWA might enable you to better manage other personal responsibilities.
- Determine if your personal productivity would improve if you adjust your current work schedule or if your proposed schedule creates additional challenges.
- Consider the reasons and ramifications of changing your schedule. Feel free to talk with your co-workers and/or customers. If they have concerns about your proposed schedule, discuss these with your supervisor so you can address them together.
- Include suggestions about how you would be flexible to cover peak time coverage, meeting times, special events, communication with clients, co-workers, your supervisor, etc.
- Identify additional changes that may need to take place in order for you to meet your job specific performance goals and objectives.
- For first time FWAs, consider offering to make your FWA a shorter duration of 1-3 months with regular "check-ins" during these months to assess how things are going and discuss adjustments as needed.
- Aim to be flexible and have a back-up plan in case you need to alter your FWA. A supervisor's ability to offer FWA options by department and employee job role, and operational limitations may be needed to meet your department's operating needs.
For a Compressed Workweek
- Will my energy be "zapped" by working longer days?
- Do I have enough work flow to fill the longer days?
- Will I need to re-arrange my personal schedule and possible dependent care needs?
- Does the extra day off outweigh the additional hours per day?
- Can I opt out if the longer hours are not suitable for me?
For Remote Work
- Do I have an appropriate space, equipment and technology to work at home? Consider safety and ergonomics, too.
- Will I miss the camaraderie of the office? How can I effectively communicate and connect with others?
- How often can I realistically work remotely?
- Will I be able to manage through the interruptions effectively (these are a part of a remote workplace), when physically at home such that my remote work does not negatively impact my work or my co-workers?
- How will remote working affect my work-life balance? (It can improve it or create more challenges).
Additional questions to consider as you plan a proposal
- What type of flexibility would I like? Flex time, alternative schedule, remote work or a combination?
- What type of flexibility would work best in my position/department/School/College/Division?
- How will my FWA affect my work performance? Customers? Co-Workers? Supervisor?
- How can I not create additional work/challenges for others?
- Additional FWA Resources
Training - Organizational and Employee Development
Employee Assistance Program - Ulliance Life Advisors
Benefits & Wellness Programs - Total Rewards
Resources are available to support productivity and wellness as we work in a more flexible manner. Log into Academica, go to "Resources," "Employee Resources," "Other Resources" and then "Accelerate Employee Development Tools"