Overview: Special work arrangements can increase productivity within any organization. Often, staff members who are otherwise willing to work feel constrained by other professional or personal responsibilities. Employers may offer flexibility in working arrangements to aid in the retention of top performers.
Alternative work schedules may include flextime or compressed workweeks. Flexibility in the amount of hours worked could be achieved through part-time work or job sharing. Employees seeking to work from home may negotiate telecommuting agreements with their employers.
Flexible working options aid in retaining employees with caregiving responsibilities, and may be offered as reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. The option of alternate work arrangements may also aid in recruiting a robust and diverse workforce. However, employers must ensure that any applicable external legal requirements, be they federal, state or local, are met. In addition, employers must enforce any internal work rules consistently.
Trends: Certain states and municipalities are considering "right to request" laws or ordinances, which protect from retaliation those employees who request a flexible working arrangement. Employers should pay close attention to this growing trend, which seeks to ensure family-friendly workplaces.
Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, has ruled that an employer did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying an employee's request to telecommute, holding that regular and predictable attendance is an essential job function.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Federal employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to Managing Employees in Special Situations
Telecommuting programs have numerous advantages for both employees and employers, including combatting absenteeism, boosting productivity and morale, and increasing employee retention. Employers should follow the steps in this How To on managing telecommuters.
A divided full panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Ford Motor Company did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it decided not to allow an employee with irritable bowel syndrome to telecommute four days a week.
California employers seeking to provide an overview of their typical hours of operation, outline expectations regarding when employees report to work and establish employer discretion to modify the work schedule as needed to meet operational demands should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
San Francisco employers that regularly employ 20 or more employees, regardless of their location, should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
The US Department of Labor (DOL) has suspended its processing of requests for prevailing wage determinations and labor certification applications in light of a federal district court's ruling that the DOL lacks authority to issue regulations concerning the H-2B guest worker program. However, the DOL has also filed a motion to stay the court order.
According to new statistics, a greater proportion of the US Department of Labor's enforcement actions are being targeted at industries that commonly use franchising, independent contractors, subcontracting and third-party intermediaries such as temporary employment agencies or labor brokers.
Rhode Island employers seeking to inform employees about the availability of flexible work schedules for part-time elected officials and to demonstrate compliance with Rhode Island law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Vermont employers seeking to inform employees about their right to request flexible work arrangements and the process for doing so and to demonstrate compliance with the law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
HR guidance on the legal risks and benefits of special work arrangements.