When it comes to creating nontraditional work schedules and how to handle them from a payroll perspective, employers are on their own as far as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is concerned. A flexible work schedule is any alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week. According to the DOL, these types of work arrangements are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee. While there are no federal legal requirements beyond the well-known overtime rules, employers are finding that policies that allow for employees to vary their arrival and departure times result in improved morale within the workforce. It may come as a surprise to learn how little the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) actually covers with regard to nontraditional work arrangements. For example, the act does not address part-time or job sharing arrangements or whether employers need to offer premium pay for weekend or night-shift work. In fact, the act does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave, or federal or other holidays. These benefits also are matters of agreement between the employer and employee. For companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the law does require unpaid sick leave of up to 12 weeks for certain medical situations involving either the employee or a member of his or her immediate family. In many instances, employers find ways to substitute paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave. For more information on FMLA, see the DOL’s website at http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/workhours/fmla.htm.
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