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
Updated to include the San Francisco, California, Back to Work Emergency Ordinance, effective July 3, 2020.
Updated to reflect an amendment to the Florida Civil Rights Act.
Chicago employers that are covered by the City's Fair Workweek Ordinance should consider including this statement in their handbook to educate employees about special rights and protections available under the ordinance.
Updated to reflect the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance, effective July 1, 2020.
Ogletree Deakins employment attorney Kathy Dudley Helms and veteran HR leader Lin Hearne share key insights on changing policies as a practical matter during the COVID-19 crisis.
An employer may use this survey form to gather feedback from employees on their experience working remotely. Data collected can be used to gauge the success of remote work arrangements and to gain insights into how the remote work experience may be improved.
An employer may use this survey to gather feedback on workplace safety from employees who have returned to the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey data will help HR determine if additional safety measures, training or communication is needed to ensure employees feel safe at work.
An employer may use this survey form to collect input from employees during the development and implementation of return-to-work plans after a COVID-19-related shutdown or temporary remote work assignment. The information collected will help HR identify and address employee concerns and incorporate this feedback into return-to-work policies and procedures.
Enhanced with information on business expense reimbursement requirements in Massachusetts; New Jersey; North Dakota; South Dakota; and Seattle, Washington.
A recent survey by Littler reveals that a large majority of employers anticipate reopening their businesses in the next three months. At the same time, these employers are proceeding cautiously and taking numerous steps to maintain employees' safety.
HR guidance on the legal risks and benefits of special work arrangements.