Flextime

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Flextime (also spelled flexitime [British English], flexi-time) is a variable work schedule, in contrast to traditional[citation needed] work arrangements requiring employees to work a standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. day. Under flextime, there is typically a core period (of approximately 50% of total working time / working day) of the day, when employees are expected to be at work (for example, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.), while the rest of the working day is "flextime", in which employees can choose when they work, subject to achieving total daily, weekly or monthly hours in the region of what the employer expects, and subject to the necessary work being done. A flextime policy allows staff to determine when they will work, while a flexplace policy allows staff to determine where they will work. Advantages include allowing employees to adopt their work hours to public transport schedules, to the schedules their children have, and that road traffic will be less congested, more spread out.

In the United Kingdom[edit]

Haller founded a company in the UK in 1971 and registered the trademark "Flextime", the mark remains the property of that company's successor hfx Ltd. In spring 2003, 17.7% of men and 26.7% of women were employed with flexitime arrangements in the United Kingdom, (Office for National Statistics 2003).[1] In the United Kingdom, flexitime working is commonplace in both the private and public sectors. The practice is often found in administrative and back office functions of commercial organisations and local councils.

In 2003, the UK Government introduced legislation [2] that gave parents of children under 6, or the parents of disabled children under 18, the right in law to request a flexible working arrangement from their employer. A survey in 2005 by the National Office of Statistics[3] showed that 71% of female workers and 60% of male workers were aware of the rights created under the 2003 legislation. Between 2003 and 2005 more than 14% of all workers had requested a change to flexible working. Since April 2007 the right to request flexible working also applies to carers of adults.

On 13 November 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced plans to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees.[4] Lawyers have suggested that this will lead to "major headaches" for employers.[5]

Shift workers are generally excluded from flextime schemes as are senior managers.[citation needed] Other groups of workers for whom flextime arrangements are rare include those who serve the public during specific opening times.

The advantages of Flextime for the individual include a better work-life balance, fewer commutes, less fatigue, more days off, lower sickness rates. The benefits for the company include; better motivated workers, more efficient and effective operation, less fatigued workers, so fewer errors; they get people working overtime hours without paying overtime rates, fewer facilities required, and lower sickness rates.

For employers, flextime can aid the recruitment and retention of staff. It has been a particularly popular option in 2009 for employers trying to reduce staff costs without having to make redundancies during the recession. It can also help provide staff cover outside normal working hours and reduce the need for overtime. Additionally flextime can also improve the provision of equal opportunities to staff unable to work standard hours.

Flextime can give employees greater freedom to organize their working lives to suit personal needs. In addition, travelling can be cheaper and easier if it is out of peak time.

In the United States[edit]

In Florida, flextime workers, like salaried workers, are exempted from insurance regulations, and are given broad leeway in setting their own work schedule. Unlike exempted salaried workers, employers are still required to pay overtime to a flextime worker if they work more than 40 hours per week; some employers avoid this policy by dismissing[citation needed] their employees shortly before their scheduled working hours have been completed. In addition, the employer will usually require that a flextime employee works a minimum number of hours each week.

In recent years, the term "flextime" has acquired a more controversial definition when used to describe proposals to overhaul the nation's overtime regulations. Under one such proposal by the Bush administration made public on August 5, 2004, employers would not be required to pay non-exempt employees overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week so long as the employee works no more than 80 hours over a two-week period. For example, a worker could be required to work 70 hours one week and receive no overtime compensation as long as they work 10 hours or less the following week. Such arrangements are opposed by trade unions such as the AFL-CIO.

In certain industries and disciplines, such as information technology, flextime permits workers to vary their schedule. For example, they may opt to work four 10-hour days per week, taking Monday or Friday off. Another flextime schedule is to work nine-hour days Monday through Thursday, an eight-hour day on Friday, taking every other Friday off. Workers may arrange to coordinate their days off so that their responsibilities are adequately covered.

Other workers may opt simply to come in early, such as 5 or 6 a.m., and leave in the mid-afternoon, or come in late and therefore leave late. One benefit of such a schedule is that commuting times occur outside of the congested rush hour traffic within a given geographic region. Flextime arrangements also help parents: one parent works 10 a.m - 6 p.m. and is in charge of the children before school / daycare, while the other parent works 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. and is in charge of the children after school / daycare. This allows parents time to commute.[6] Flextime is also beneficial to workers pursuing an education.

It is an ongoing part of the work-life balance discussions in many companies.

In Australia[edit]

Flexi-time in Australia is usually referred to accumulated overtime hours that an employee can build up and exchange for the equivalent amount of time off. (Example: Jane works 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Over the past month, Jane has worked 8 hours overtime meaning she is eligible for a paid day off.)

If employees accumulate too many flex hours, they are required to perform a "flex burndown", as they are burning down the flex. Similarly, taking a flex day off is known as "flexing".

It is implemented formally in the Australian Federal Public Service and is available for staff in most state and territory government departments. With current changes to industrial relations laws (2006), from State to Federal level there are no new published guidelines (online) for flexi-time.

Flexi-time has also been implemented in the Victorian Public Service.

The word "flex" has entered the lexicon of many Australians and, in some workplaces, possessing a high flex balance is a point of honour, with many employees placing bets on who can accumulate the most number of flex hours by a particular date.[citation needed] This has led to many employees staying behind at work until very late, despite being completely idle, to build up their flex.[citation needed]

Recording flextime working[edit]

There are many different methods used for recording working time ranging from sophisticated software (computer programs) to handwritten time sheets. Most of these methods are associated with the payment of wages in return for hours worked. As a result they often do not address a fundamental difference of most flexible working systems - namely the intention of flexible working to allow an employee to "trade hours" with their employer in return for a fixed wage (Hayward, Bruce; Fong, Barry; Thornton, Alex (December 2007), "The Third Work-Life Balance Employer Survey: Main Findings" (PDF), UK Govt. Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform ). There are also similar tracking tools for time and productivity more suited to small and medium business (SMBs), such as TimeOP.

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