Flexible Work Arrangement Program FAQs

Management and Professional Staff


The Program

Informal Flexible Arrangements involve occasional changes in work hours or location. Informal flexibility allows staff to make up time without penalty. No application is required; managers may make decisions on an ad-hoc basis and requests can be discontinued without notice. 

Formal Flexible Arrangements occur when a staff member and a manager agree to implement a regular change to the work schedule. Formal work arrangements involve additional considerations in the approval process.

The Flexible Work Arrangement Program applies to Regular and Fixed Term MaPS — however, the eligibility varies by the type of arrangement. 

All Reports to Managers can view both a staff member's leave balances and their service date in the view Leave Accrual Balances – Details report available under HR manager reports accessed in the myUCalgary Portal.

As long as a staff member has completed their probation period by the start date of the individual plans they are eligible to participate.  The Annual Flex Work Week and the Voluntary Flex Leave Plan begins July 1, the Summer Flex Work Week begins July 6, and the Flexible Hours and Temporary Reduction in Hours plans can begin at any time.

The Flexible Hours option does not have an application deadline and can be entered into at any time. Participation requires that a staff member submits a written request via email to their manager. Expectations and conditions of participation (particularly how accountabilities will be met under the plan) should be clearly outlined.

Employee schedules do not and should not be changed when an employee participates in this plan since scheduled days of work and hours of work do not change. 

If approved, the requesting staff member and manager must meet within forty-five (45) calendar days to review the arrangement. The manager will advise whether the arrangement requires changes or will be discontinued.

Either the staff member or manager can end the Flexible Hours arrangement. If the manager determines the arrangement is no longer appropriate or a change is required, they must provide the staff member thirty (30) calendar days written notice via email along with the reasons prior to a change or discontinuing the arrangement. This provides the staff member with enough time to adjust their routine and address any lifestyle changes.

The intent of this program is to encourage flexibility in the way MaPS deliver on their accountabilities. Occasionally MaPS are required to work hours outside of their regular schedule and that does not change when they are working under any of the flexible work arrangements. MaPS are still accountable for meeting their objectives and managing time off accordingly.

The Process

Approval of participation is at the discretion of the direct manager. Managers are responsible for considering all requests on a case-by-case basis. When issues arise with assessing the suitability of requests, managers or staff members should consult with their HR Services Team.

Managers should always take the time to understand and carefully review all Flexible Work Arrangement requests. All requests shall be considered and administered in a fair and equitable manner. Both staff and managers should evaluate participation by referencing the Evaluating Flexible Work Arrangement Guidelines which considers the following:

  • personal suitability
  • faculty/department suitability
  • job function suitability.

It is important to remember that some arrangements may not be appropriate for particular job types. In addition, managers should consider how the arrangement may impact both the staff member's work and that of their colleagues. In all situations, approval of participation will be at the discretion of the manager and must be operationally feasible.

Approval of participation is at the discretion of the direct manager. Managers are responsible for considering all requests on a case-by-case basis. Managers should consider the following:

Performance:

  • Have performance issues or development areas been identified and subject to monitoring that may not be possible with a change in schedule?
  • Does the staff member have the organizational skills and ability to accomplish tasks independently?

Is the staff member:

  • Able to maintain self-discipline and work with minimum supervision?
  • Available during the agreed upon work hours?
  • Committed to participating in ongoing monitoring?

When issues arise with assessing the suitability of requests, managers should consult with their HR Services Team.

Staff members should speak with their managers about flexible work options that would work for both them and their department. If managers need support with determining eligibility for any of the flexible work options they can contact their HR Services Team for additional support.

Managers are responsible for outlining the reasons for the denial to the staff member in writing (via email). If staff members have any questions or concerns regarding the decision, they should speak with their manager first, and if further discussion is required, they can contact their HR Services Team.

Implementing the Program

Typically, breaks or lunch may not be accumulated by the staff member nor used to leave work early or come in late. Break and lunch times are in place to support health and wellness, meet employment standards, and are not intended to be used to shorten the work day. If there are anomalies in the participating staff member's schedule, an informal agreement with their manager may help with one-off situations.

It is expected that staff members will book appointments outside work hours particularly when they are working a flexible schedule. Where that is not an option, staff members can take appointment time during work hours with the approval of their manager.

Flexible Work Arrangements are put in place based on approval from a staff member's current manager, therefore staff members transferring to a different department within the university cannot automatically continue with their flexible work arrangement. Staff members considering an opportunity in another department are advised to discuss with the hiring manager whether or not their current arrangement will be operationally feasible in the new role.

Yes. Staff members can participate in more than one Flexible Work Arrangement; however, some options are not compatible with others. For example, if you temporarily reduce your hours, you are not eligible for the Summer Flex Work Week, the Annual Flex Work Week, and/or the Voluntary Flex Leave option. All requests must still be operationally feasible and approved by the manager.

The Program

The Summer Flex Work Week arrangement is a scheduling arrangement that offers the option of working the equivalent of regular full-time work in fewer than the standard five (5) day work week during the July - August months. Staff members will work a 7.75 hour work day over a two (2) week period with a scheduled day off to be taken on either a Monday or Friday.

 

July and August represent the most frequently requested months off.

Friday and Monday represent the most frequently requested days off.

During a Summer Flex Work Week arrangement a staff member's scheduled work day is increased to 7.75 hours per day in order to fund the scheduled day off every second week. If a leave day is taken during the plan period (whether it is vacation, sick or a personal leave day) the hours entered on the timesheet must match the scheduled hours. In a two week period there is no impact to a staff member’s vacation balance since only nine (9) work days will need to be coded as vacation.

The Process

The Summer Flex Work Week arrangement will begin the first Monday in July and will run until the last Friday in August. After talking to their manager, staff members apply by completing the Summer Flex Work Week form and submitting it to their managers during the application period.

Managers will review all applications using the Evaluating Flexible Work Arrangement Guidelines and submit all approved applications to their hrops@ucalgary.ca by the application deadline.

As long as the staff member has no more than one year vacation balance prior to the plan start date they are eligible to participate in the plan.

Due to the recent COVID-19 situation, if a staff member has more than a one year vacation balance, it will be managerial discretion to determine approval for participation.  The staff member will need to provide a detailed plan in writing to their manager on how the excess vacation balance will be exhausted at the time of enrolment within the program.

Human Resources reviews all applications for the Summer Flex Work Week, the Annual Flex Work Week and the Voluntary Flex Leave Plan to validate eligibility and support managers with planning their people resources to allow flexible working options and still meet operational accountabilities.

Deciding between the four (4) available schedules offered in the Summer Flex Work Week is something that managers and staff members need to determine, based on business needs including the schedules of others in the department or unit. Once chosen and approved by the manager, it will be considered permanent for the enrolment period, unless a change is operationally required.  Staff members may be asked to alter their request to meet operational requirements.

Four (4) alternate schedules are available as part of the Summer Flex Work Week program so that managers can work with their staff members to distribute the days off across the four (4) options to allow for multiple staff members to participate. Therefore, managers and their staff members will need to work together to find solutions that best fit their team, while still meeting organizational needs.

Yes. Staff members who meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in both plans will need to complete both application forms and receive approval from their manager to participate.

Implementing the Program

If a regularly scheduled Summer Flex work day-off falls on a holiday, staff members should make arrangements with their manager to take an alternate day-off. For example, the August Civic holiday falls on a Monday — if a staff member was scheduled to take that day off they could take the Tuesday instead, and would enter it in their timesheet using the time reporting code 'MGR' (Short Term Leave – Paid).

Occasionally MaPS staff are required to work hours outside of their regular schedule and that does not change when they are working under any of the flexible work arrangements. MaPS members are still accountable for meeting their objectives and managing time off accordingly.

No. The Summer Flex day off is a scheduled day off. MaPS only code time that is an exception to their schedule. Under this plan the schedule is changed to reflect every second Monday or Friday off and therefore it is not necessary to code anything in the timesheet.

Staff members will continue to submit their time exceptions; however, their time exceptions will be based on a 7.75 hour day instead of a 7 hour day. Staff members are responsible and accountable for submitting accurate time exceptions based on their Flexible Work Arrangement. Reports to Managers are still accountable for ensuring all time is accurately accounted.

Yes, Summer Flex leave days can be combined with other leave types including vacation and Personal Leave Days (PLD).

Staff members are provided with a bank of 21 hours for Personal Leave Days, so if a staff member uses a PLD while participating in the Summer Flex Program, they will code it at 7.75 hours, which will leave them with 13.25 hours in their PLD bank.

If you have more questions about the Summer Flex Work Week, contact the Integrated Service Centre at 403.220.8800 or hr@ucalgary.ca.

The Program

The Annual Flex Work Week has been extended for an additional 1 year pilot, that offers the option of working the equivalent of regular full-time hours in nine days and taking a flex day off every two weeks. Staff members will work a 7.75 hour work day over a two (2) week period with a scheduled day off to be taken on a day determined during the application process.

Participation in the program is subject to operational requirements and management approval.

The university recognizes the importance of time off and work/life balance as a key part of our employee value proposition.  For this pilot,employees will not forfeit any Personal Leave Days (PLDs) to participate in the program.

The Annual Flex Work Week and the Summer Flex Work Week are similar arrangements though the Annual Flex lasts the whole year, whereas the Summer Flex runs July and August.  Under the Annual Flex Work Week, MaPS may choose any day to schedule their flex day, subject to manager approval.  In the Summer Flex Work Week, MaPS have the option of choosing a Monday or Friday for their flex day.

Participation in the program is subject to operational requirements and management approval.

Yes. Staff members can choose to have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday as their scheduled day off. Once chosen, it will be considered permanent for the enrolment period, unless a change is operationally required.

During an Annual Flex Work Week arrangement a staff member's scheduled work day is increased to 7.75 hours per day in order to fund the scheduled day off every second week. If a leave day is taken during the plan period (whether it is vacation, sick or a personal leave day) the hours entered on the timesheet must match the scheduled hours. In a two week period there is no impact to a staff member’s vacation balance since only nine (9) work days will need to be coded as vacation.

Employees who complete probation within 30 days of the program start date (July 1, 2020) will have the option to enrol in the Annual Flex Work Week. Eligibility for participation in the program is subjected to operational requirements and manager approval.

Employees who will be back from leave by September 1, 2020 will have the option to enrol in the Annual Flex Work Week. Eligibility for participation in the program is subjected to operational requirements and manager approval.

The employee must use their flex day either the week prior to the holiday break (December 17-23) or the week following the holiday break (January 4-8). 

This arrangement will need to be approved by the manager and take operational feasibility into account.

The Process

After talking to their manager, staff members apply by completing the Annual Flex Work Week form and submitting it to their managers during the application period. The enrolment period for the pilot program will be the academic year, July 1 to June 30. 

Managers will review all applications using the Evaluating Flexible Work Arrangement Guidelines and submit all approved applications to hrops@ucalgary.ca by the application deadline.

As long as the staff member has no more than one year vacation balance prior to the plan start date they are eligible to participate in the plan.

Due to the recent COVID-19 situation, if a staff member has more than a one year vacation balance, it will be managerial discretion to determine approval for participation.  The staff member will need to provide a detailed plan in writing to their manager on how the excess vacation balance will be exhausted at the time of enrolment within the program.

Human Resources reviews all applications for the Summer Flex Work Week, the Annual Flex Work Week and the Voluntary Flex Leave Plan to validate eligibility and support managers with planning their people resources to allow flexible working options and still meet operational accountabilities.

Deciding between the ten (10) available schedules offered in the Annual Flex Work Week is something that managers and staff members need to determine, based on business needs including the schedules of others in the department or unit. Once chosen and approved by the manager, it will be considered permanent for the enrolment period, unless a change is operationally required.  Staff members may be asked to alter their request to meet operational requirements. 

Ten (10) alternate schedules are available as part of the Annual Flex Work Week so that managers can work with their staff members to distribute the days off across the ten options to allow for multiple staff members to participate. Therefore, managers and their staff members will need to work together to find solutions that best fit their team, while still meeting organizational needs.

Yes. Staff members who meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in both plans will need to complete both application forms and receive approval from their manager to participate.

No. Staff members will choose only one (1) of the flex work week arrangements in which to participate.

Implementing the Program

If a regularly scheduled Annual Flex work day-off falls on a holiday, staff members should make arrangements with their manager to take an alternate day-off. For example, the August Civic holiday falls on a Monday — if a staff member was scheduled to take that day off they could take the Tuesday instead, and would enter it in their timesheet using the time reporting code 'MGR' (Short Term Leave – Paid).

Occasionally MaPS are required to work hours outside of their regular schedule and that does not change when they are working under any of the flexible work arrangements. MaPS members are still accountable for meeting their objectives and managing time off accordingly.

Occasionally circumstances of a staff member or of a department or unit change making the Annual Flex Program unmanageable or operationally unfeasible. If the change is employee-driven, they should speak with their managers to initiate an opt-out. If the change is manager-driven, Human Resources should be contacted before any steps are taken. If a staff member leaves the program, they will be unable to rejoin the program until the next enrolment period, January 1, 2021.

No. The annual flex day-off is a scheduled day off. MaPS only code time that is an exception to their schedule. Under this plan the schedule is changed in PeopleSoft to reflect the scheduled day off and therefore it is not necessary to code anything in the timesheet.

Staff members will continue to submit their time exceptions — however, their time exceptions will be based on a 7.75 hour day instead of a 7 hour day. Staff members are responsible and accountable for submitting accurate time exceptions based on their Flexible Work Arrangement. Reports to Managers are still accountable for ensuring all time is accurately accounted.

Yes, Annual Flex leave days can be combined with other leave types including vacation and Personal Leave Days (PLD).

Staff members are provided with a bank of 21 hours for Personal Leave Days, so if a staff member uses a PLD while participating in the Annual Flex Program, they will code it at 7.75 hours, which will leave them with 13.25 hours in their PLD bank.

If you have more questions about the Annual Flex Work Week, contact the Integrated Service Centre at 403.220.8800 or hr@ucalgary.ca.

In March 2021, a link to an evaluation form will be sent to all MaPS and managers of MaPS to gain feedback on the program.

The Plan

A voluntary and self-funded personal leave plan (VFLP) offers five (5) days of leave without disruption to pay where the cost of the leave is spread evenly over the entire twelve (12) month plan period (July 1 – June 30).

Staff members who participate in the plan will have a nominal salary deduction (approximately 2%) applied over the Plan Period.

Visit the Flexible Work Arrangement Options and Process page for more information and all eligibility requirements.

As long as the staff member has no more than one year vacation balance prior to the plan start date (July 1) they are eligible to participate in the plan.

The deduction of 1.92% is calculated on your base compensation and will reduce your net pay on a semi-monthly basis. Your annual income does not change and you contribute pension and taxes based on your gross pay. This plan simply allows for deduction in pay that will fund additional time off during the plan year. 

No, employees are buying additional paid leave. It is important to distinguish the Voluntary Flex Leave days from vacation because they are substantially different leave types and are coded differently in the staff member's timesheet. Vacation is entered using the code VAC and are paid leave hours that are earned on each hour worked. Vacation accumulates and is held in a bank that is drawn down whenever vacation is used and it can be carried over from one year to another and is paid out upon termination or transfer.

Voluntary Flex Leave days are entered using the code VFL and are self-funded leave days that are provided to enrollees in the plan. Voluntary Flex Leave days are not banked and cannot be carried forward or reimbursed. It is expected that enrollees in this plan will be allowed to take these days prior to the end of the plan period or by the end of their employment with a department or unit.

To ensure that staff members use their voluntary flex days prior to the end of the plan period, and to simplify the reporting and tracking of this exception time, it is required that these leave days are taken consecutively and/or at the same time.

Because there is no reconciliation of time taken versus time funded the university wants to ensure that staff members are not disadvantaged and have the opportunity to take this time prior to the end of the plan period.

This plan is irrevocable and there is no reconciliation of days. Staff members remain in the plan for the full academic year (July 1- June 30). If staff members would like to continue in the program, they will be required to apply for the program every academic year.

No. Staff members are expected to take their Voluntary Flex Leave days during the plan period (e.g. between July 1 and June 30 of that year). Any unused days at the end of the plan period are forfeited and no reconciliation is provided.

The Process

Staff members apply by completing the Voluntary Flex Leave Plan form and submitting it to their manager during the application period.  Managers will review all applications using the Evaluating Flexible Work Arrangement Guidelines and submit all approved applications to their HR Services representatives by the application deadline.

After ensuring the information is accurate and confirming the staff member is eligible for the program, HR Services will submit all applications for processing.

Human Resources reviews all applications for both Flex Work Week programs and the Voluntary Flex Leave Plan to validate eligibility and support managers with planning their people resources to allow flexible working options and still meet operational accountabilities.

In addition to using the Evaluating Flexible Work Arrangement Guidelines, managers should consider staffing costs related to additional coverage, client needs and/or shifting job responsibilities. It may be prudent to inquire as to what the staff member’s plan for the up-coming year is to use all their vacation and the additional week.

Due to the complexity of leaves, including long term disability, these cases will need to be reviewed and the required action determined on a case by case basis.

Yes. Staff members who meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in both plans will need to complete both application forms and receive approval from their manager to participate.

Implementing the Plan

No, staff members must take all five (5) Voluntary Flex Leave days consecutively and/or at the same time. In some cases staff members might take two days at the end of one week and three days at the start of the next week.

Voluntary Flex Leave days should be coded using the Time Reporting Code (TRC) VFL.

No one. Once approved, the decision to participate in the plan is irrevocable for the plan period, one full year from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. If participating MaPS end employment with the University, there is no reconciliation of the days not taken

It is expected that enrollees in this plan will be allowed to take these days prior to the end of the plan period or by the end of their employment with a department or unit.

It is expected that if a manager approves a staff member’s enrolment in this plan that they and the staff member will ensure that earned flex time is used prior to the end of the plan period or the end of a staff member’s employment in their faculty or unit.

There is no carryover of voluntary flex leave to the next academic year and these flex days are not paid out upon termination or transfer. Conversely, if a staff member uses their flex days and transfers within or leaves the university prior to fully funding that leave there is no claw back or adjustment on the time taken.

Yes, voluntary flex leave days can be combined with other leave types including vacation and Personal Leave Days (PLD) provided that these days are taken consecutive and/or at the same time.