Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act

The Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act allow federal agencies to provide two alternative work schedule options for federal employees. The Act permits (but does not require) agencies to establish “flexible work schedule” programs and/or “compressed work schedule” programs for their employees.

Under a flexible work schedule program, an agency may establish a system in which employees must work certain core hours and days. Beyond these designated times, the employee may structure his or her schedule to accommodate his or her personal needs; the employee may vary the start and end times or the length of the workday or workweek. At the same time, the employee is required to meet a basic work requirement of 80 hours every two weeks. For example, if an employee’s core hours were Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, the employee would be expected to be at work during those hours. The employee could then work 7:00 - 5:00 on Monday, 10:00-6:00 on Tuesday, etc., so long as the employee worked a total of 80 hours in a two week period.

Under a compressed work schedule program, an agency may establish a biweekly schedule during which employees’ basic 80-hour work requirement is scheduled within less than the traditional 10 workdays. For example, an agency may establish a schedule where an employee may work Monday - Thursday every week (and thus works 10 hours per day), or one where an employee has every other Friday off (and thus works just under 9 hours per day). Under a compressed work schedule program, the employee must work the same hours and days every week, as set by the employer.

With respect to both programs, if employees are unionized, any flexible or compressed work schedule program must be expressly provided for in a collective bargaining agreement between the employees and the agency, and the program must comply with the terms of that agreement.

For over 20 years, the federal government has made flexible and compressed work schedules generally available to its employees. Whether a particular agency allows its employees to use alternative work schedules, however, depends on the discretion of the agency head.

Further Information

Documents prepared by Workplace Flexibility 2010:

Additional materials on flexibility for federal employees