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Telecommuting -- Work-Life Balance

Telecommuting and Flexible Work Options


Flexible Work Options include: Flextime and Telecommuting

RPM: http://www.lbl.gov/Workplace/RPM/R2.06.html#sec206d4

Flexible work options are tools managers and supervisors can use to help meet the work/life balance needs of their employees while simultaneously ensuring that the work unit’s operational needs are met.  While the Lab supports the use of flexible work options whenever possible, they do not change the basic terms and conditions of Laboratory employment and are not entitlements.  Granting or denial of a request for a flexible work option is at the sole discretion of management. Neither denial of a request for a flexible work option, nor rescission of an approved flexible work option is subject to the Complaint Resolution procedure (RPM §2.05(D)).

The Laboratory currently has two flexible work options that may be considered: Flextime and Telecommuting Agreements. Approval of both options must be within the provisions of RPM §2.06(D)(2) to (3).


Flextime

General

It is the intent, except as noted below, to make flexible working hours available to all employees by allowing employees to redistribute their daily work hours within a framework defined by division management and that is within the provisions of  §2.06 (D)(2) to (3).  The goal is to allow employees some flexibility regarding their daily work schedule, compatible with effective job accomplishment and work unit operational needs.

Division/department management may determine that there are specific scientific and/or operational necessity reasons during which a regular, ongoing flextime schedule cannot be implemented.  If scientific or operational requirements make regular, formal flextime practices unfeasible, arrangements can be made between the supervisor and employee on an ad hoc basis.

Flextime Operating Guidelines

Supervisors should consider the following guidelines when reviewing a request for flextime.  However, the final flextime arrangement approved, if any, is at the sole discretion of the supervisor.

  • Core Hours:  The time when employees are normally expected to be at work:  9:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. through 3:30 p.m.
  • Work Hours:  The amount of time an employee is expected to be on the job during a given time period.  See §2.06(D)(2).
  • Minimum Service Coverage:  The staffing required to ensure that the normal services and functions of a work unit will be available during the standard workday.
  • Communication of Schedule Changes:  It is the responsibility of employees working flextime and supervisors to communicate changes of personal or job schedule to those whom the changes may affect.

Responsibility

  • Division directors are responsible for implementation of this policy, will determine whether flextime is appropriate within the division and will approve employees’ flextime schedules.
  • Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees in their work units understand and meet work-unit operating guidelines and that the work unit operates effectively.  This means identification of essential tasks, operations, and functions that must be accomplished at certain times during the workday and the development of coverage requirements.
  • Employees are also responsible for accurately reporting their time worked.


Telecommuting

General

  • Telecommuting is a work option in which employees fulfill their job responsibilities at home or another approved location.  The arrangement may cover all or part of the employees’ scheduled hours and may be on an intermittent/ occasional basis or on a regular schedule.
  • Telecommuting arrangements must be consistent with Laboratory policy and do not change the basic terms and conditions of Laboratory employment.
  • An employee’s performance while telecommuting is measured using the same standards that apply when the work is performed at the Laboratory and will be documented in the annual performance review.
  • Approval of an employee’s request to telecommute is based on the operational needs of the work unit.  Telecommuting is voluntary and is not an entitlement.

Agreements

There are two types of telecommuting arrangements:

  • Telecommuting can be on an intermittent or occasional basis or on a regular part- or full-time schedule.  Occasional or intermittent telecommuting requires supervisor approval.  If, in the opinion of the supervisor, an intermittent telecommuting arrangement begins to occur frequently while still not on a regular schedule, the supervisor may require a written agreement.
  • A regular telecommuting schedule requires a written agreement, not to exceed 12 months, between the supervisor and employee that must be approved by the Division Director or Department Head (or designee).  Agreements expire automatically on the stated end date unless reviewed and renewed prior to that date.  Renewal is subject to the work unit’s operational needs and the supervisor’s assessment of the employee’s performance.  Changes in the terms of a telecommuting agreement within the 12-month period, e.g., change in off-site work location or telecommuting schedule, are to be documented as they occur. 

Telecommuting agreements involving nonexempt employees require concurrence of the Manager, Employee and Labor Relations.

Telecommuting agreements may be terminated at any time by either the employee or the supervisor. Whenever possible, a 30 days' notice should be provided.

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