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Topics Map > Employee Handbook > 1.14 Workplace & Conduct > 1.14.1 Remote Work & Flexible Scheduling

Flexible Scheduling - Guidelines

Divisional information and guidelines for employees to request and use flexible scheduling to balance professional and personal time.


  • UW-Madison, Division of Extension positions have varying demands beyond ‘typical’ working hours, which may include night and weekend work depending on the position. Flexible scheduling is an essential tool for developing and sustaining a successful long-term relationship between the individual and the organization. 
  • Flexibility with work schedules is greatly valued by the employee to balance and enjoy important personal priorities while still meeting the priority needs of Extension. In general, Extension supports employee flexibility to schedule their work in a way that allows them to most effectively do their jobs. However, to most effectively manage the unit, supervisors and team members need to be aware of their schedule, especially when it deviates from regular work hours. Microsoft Outlook calendar should be used as a key communication tool.
  • Extension employees are accountable for their time and fulfilling the assigned job responsibilities. This includes the accomplishment of all responsibilities in the position descriptions and other agreed-upon work responsibilities in alignment with the Workplace Criteria for Success. Staff are expected to provide for the support and/or delivery of program services to the public and, to fulfill that expectation, should maintain a schedule that allows appropriate public availability which is clearly communicated to clients, colleagues and support staff. 
  • These guidelines are in alignment with applicable UW-Madison policies. The purpose of this document is to clarify how we will be implementing them within the Division of Extension.
  • Please note that these guidelines do not address remote work. More information regarding remote work can be found on the Extension Human Resources website.

Flexible Scheduling Definition

  • Flexible scheduling allows for variation in the time and/or day the work is completed. This may include variations in daily beginning and ending work time periods, weekend work, and/or days worked, providing those schedules comply with applicable state and federal wage and hour laws. 
  • Flexible scheduling is meant to provide an opportunity to balance professional and personal time. Salaried employees should not expect that hours worked in excess of 40 in a week be exchanged “hour for hour”. Hourly employees must track and be compensated for all time worked.

Requesting Flexible Scheduling

This operational procedure should provide the necessary flexibility to meet customer, employee and office needs regarding time scheduling. Employees should ensure they have supervisor approval and communicate with the office team in advance when they will be adjusting their schedules or taking time off by posting the time on their respective individual Outlook email calendars. 

It is expected this procedure will:

  1. Support a balance of professional time and personal time that is healthy for the individual and the organization;
  2. Create an efficient and collaborative workplace that provides effective customer service through communication with colleagues and partners;
  3. Ensure reasonable access to Extension expertise during regular office hours; and
  4. Be consistent with federal, state, county and university policies.

Guidelines for Flexible Scheduling

  1. Extension employees should keep their supervisor, colleagues, support staff apprised of their work schedules (via Outlook Calendar).
  2. Extension employees should be reasonably responsive to phone calls, texts and emails during regular office hours. 
  3. Advanced approval from the immediate supervisor or designee is required when flexible scheduling is utilized.  
  4. If a standard flex schedule is approved, the schedule will not need to be revisited by the supervisor unless changes are made.  
  5. Flexible scheduling should be managed for the mutual benefit of the organization and the individual. If the scheduling request would negatively affect the unit’s program or function, the supervisor can deny that schedule.
  6. Extension employees should be available to the public and their colleagues, and should make an effort to establish and update regular office hours to support their accessibility. 
  7. Flexible scheduling is not intended to augment holiday, vacation or sick leave and a repetitive pattern should not be used in taking time off (i.e. taking every Friday off).

These guidelines are to be used in offices to establish a healthy balance of work and personal time.

Additional University Policies & Tools Supporting Workplace Flexibility

Working at Home (Academic Staff, Faculty and Limited Appointees)

Alternative Work Schedules (University Staff)

Classified Personnel Policies and Procedures - Ch. 14.02 - Alternative Work Schedules


Flex-time allows employees to alter their standard start and end work times on a daily basis to accommodate personal commitments and promote a healthy work-life balance. In such cases, departments may establish core hours when employees must be present.

Variable Hours

Employees may use this option to permanently change their start and end times to adjust for personal situations, such as riding in a carpool or childcare. Variable hours, unlike flex-time, are fixed schedules which deviate from the standard work unit schedule. In most situations, employees and supervisors can work together to develop schedules that cover the core hours of operation.

Alternative Work Week

An alternative work week plan enables a full-time employee to complete the basic work requirement of 40 hours per week in fewer than five full days. Unlike flex-time, hours are standardized by agreement between the employee and supervisor. An example of an alternative work week is a four-day, 40-hour work week (four 10-hour days).

Remote Work

Paid and Unpaid Time Off

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Keywords:Flexible Scheduling Guidelines Flex Variable Alternative Home   Doc ID:112590
Owner:Nathaniel S.Group:Extension Handbook
Created:2021-07-22 14:39 CDTUpdated:2022-03-09 11:38 CDT
Sites:Extension Handbook
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