Sustainable Agriculture Institute

Flexible Hours Policy

 

Policy brief & purpose

SAI’s Flexible Hours Policy outlines our provisions for employees who want to change their working hours, days or weeks.

Scope

This policy applies to all our employees, who need an alternative arrangement about their work schedules and who are eligible by nature of their job.

Policy elements

We recognize that some employees need to work flexible hours. Example reasons are:

  • Parenting
  • Doctor appointments or other medical circumstances
  • Work-life balance

What does it mean to have a flexible work schedule?

Flexible hours can refer to a number of different arrangements:

  • Flexible working time when employees choose to shift their everyday schedule by starting the day later or leaving earlier. The total of working hours doesn’t change. “Core hours” may be established during which an employee is obliged to be present at the workplace.
  • Reduced hours when an employee works for less than the standard working hours either by fewer hours per day or by fewer days per week. In such cases salary is calculated anew depending on the new schedule.
  • Compressed week when employees work longer hours on a number of days per week so they can take time off on the remaining days. Total working hours and compensation remain the same.
  • “Flexible year” when an employee must work a specific amount of hours per year with little limitation as to when.
  • Job sharing when two people divide their schedule to do the same job.

To determine whether an employee is eligible for flexible arrangements, we consider:

  • The nature of the employee’s job. For example, if the job requires attendance at specific hours or every day per week or has a full time workload, then the employee is not eligible for flexible working hours.
  • The needs of the employee’s team or department. For example, some departments (e.g. finance) may require employees to be present due to the amount of incoming paper documents.
  • The impact on colleagues. For example, if the department’s operations are largely dependent on teamwork, then the employee is less likely to freely modify his/her working schedules.
  • The duration of the arrangement. For example, an employee may have flexible hours on a specific time but may have to follow standard schedule at some other time.
  • The impact on customers. For example, we don’t want any flexible work arrangement to have a big impact on customer satisfaction.

Procedure

If our employee initiates the request for flexible schedule then the following procedure must be followed:

  1. The employee files an official request with their manager and HR explaining the reasons for their request.
  2. Their manager approves/rejects their request after carefully considering the above criteria.
  3. HR approves
  4. The employee and their manager meet to discuss details of the arrangement and set specific goals and responsibilities.
  5. HR puts the agreement in writing and all parties must sign it.
  6. The decision must be revisited and discontinued if it negatively affects productivity or efficiency of the individual or the department.

In cases where the employer does not approve of the employee’s request, the employee must receive an official letter that includes the reasons why.

When the request is initiated by the employer, then the employee must be formally notified and sign the agreement along with the other parties.