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Index > Operations Policies > Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible Work Arrangements



Types of Flexible Work Arrangements Supported & Available at RISD

Flex Time
Flex time is an arrangement where the employee works a modified schedule that alters when the employee starts and stops work. Flex time arrangements are usually established within specific guidelines that take into account and preserve the department’s “core” working day. Flex time should be arranged in advance with the employee and their supervisor or manager to set start and finish times. The total hours of work are not affected by this arrangement.

For example, if the core hours for the department are between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., when all employees need to be at work, the employee may be able to start at a set time between 7:30 and 9:30 AM, and finish at a corresponding time between 3:30 and 5:30 PM.

Compressed Work Week
A compressed work week occurs when an employee works for longer periods of time per day or shift in exchange for a day off. Under such arrangements, employees may start earlier and/or finish later than the normal work day.

Common arrangements (assuming a 40-hour work week) are working 40 hours in 4 days (4/40) or working an extra hour a day with 1 day off every 2 weeks (9/80).

Job Sharing
Job sharing occurs when two people share one full-time position by sharing hours, responsibilities, and duties. Job-sharing requires exceptional team work and good communication between the employees and their supervisor to maintain efficiency and effectiveness. Employees considering this option should explore with Human Resources how pay and benefits are affected.

Reduced Hours/Part-time
Employees may request to work fewer hours than the standard work week for the position. The specific work hours may be negotiated, or they may be required to coincide with peak workload hours depending on the type of operation. A reduction in hours will affect pay and may affect employee benefits, and these consequences should be considered thoroughly before commencing.

Summer Flexible Hours
Where offices close early on Friday afternoons during the summer, employees may be offered the opportunity to change the schedule of their work weeks from five work days to four-and-one-half work days. Employees who regularly work 35 hours a week would work four (4) 7.5-hour days and then one (1) 5-hour day. Employees who work 40 hours a week would work four (4) 8.5-hour days and one (1) 6-hour day. However, an employee must be offered at least a one-half hour lunch break (which does not count toward working hours) if they are working more than six hours in a day.

Reduced Summer Hours
Employees may request to voluntarily reduce the number of hours worked each week during the summer or to take all three months off from work, if consistent with the needs of the office and subject to the approval of the supervisor. The employee’s weekly pay will be reduced proportionately to reflect the number of hours the employee works each week.

If an employee requests to reduce their hours or to take all three months off, RISD will continue to provide their current insurance benefits; however, the employee is not eligible for unemployment compensation, as this type of voluntary hour reduction program does not meet state eligibility guidelines.


RISD believes the well-being of its employees is tied to a careful balance of work and personal responsibilities/interests. Therefore, RISD strives to provide a work environment that enables employees to be supportive of their outside responsibilities and interests while still fulfilling the requirements of their positions at RISD. To facilitate a healthy work/life balance, RISD supports a variety of flexible work arrangements, when practicable.

Flexible work arrangements are alternate arrangements or schedules from the traditional work day and week.

An employee interested in requesting a flexible work arrangement should speak with their supervisor. Approval depends upon organization needs and the employee’s job responsibilities, but supervisors are encouraged to grant requests that will not negatively impact the department as a whole. Any flexible work arrangement request is also subject to the approval of the supervisor and, as appropriate, the respective Dean/Director. Arrangements may be modified or revoked by either RISD or the employee as the needs of the department or the employee change.

Standards for Successful Arrangements

The supervisor, in conjunction with the Dean or Director, reviews the request and considers items such as:

  • Workload management (how will the work be accomplished)
  • Meeting internal or external customer demands
  • Impact the employee’s absence/schedule will have on the group or the institution
  • Impact on terms and conditions of employment (e.g., leave benefits maybe pro-rated)
  • Initial start-up costs and additional administrative duties/time

In addition, the supervisor should be sure that the duties, expectations, and deadlines are clearly outlined, communicated, and agreed to by both the supervisor/manager and the employee. Doing so will help create a supportive culture, open dialogue, teamwork, and reciprocal support between all parties involved in an effort to ensure the success of these arrangements.

Supervisors/managers are encouraged to build ongoing communication and assessment practices into the work relationship.

Approved flexible work arrangements are subject to a trial period of no more than three months. During the trial period the effectiveness of the arrangement is reviewed and may either be extended or discontinued. RISD reserves the right to end or modify the flexible work arrangement at any time and for any reason, but will give the employee reasonable notice, unless unforeseen circumstances make that impossible.


How to Request a Reduced Summer Hours Arrangement

A reduced summer hours schedule is established by the department with the approval of the immediate supervisor.

  1. The employee initiates a request for flexible work arrangement by completing the Summer Reduced Hours Form.
  2. If the reduction of hours is approved, the supervisor forwards the approved form to Human Resources for processing.
  3. The employee is responsible for contacting the Benefits Administrator to make arrangements for payment of their monthly rate premium for benefits such as Optional Life Insurance, Health, Dental, Vision, and Long-Term Disability, if applicable.

How to Request a Flexible Work Arrangement

Flexible work arrangements are established by each division/department, in cooperation with the respective Dean or Director and Human Resources. The immediate supervisor, with the approval of the Dean or Director, determines if a flexible work arrangement is appropriate for the department and the nature of the work in question.

  1. The employee initiates a request for a flexible work arrangement by completing the Flexible Work Arrangement Form and submits it to their supervisor for consideration.
  2. If the proposal is approved, the supervisor and Director or Dean signs the Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form.
  3. The employee is encouraged to contact the Benefits Administrator to determine whether the proposed arrangement has any benefit impact.
  4. Copies are then given to Human Resources and the employee for their records.
  5. The manager and employee review the overall effectiveness of the arrangement at/before the completion of a three month trial period. The arrangement may be extended or discontinued based on the review.


The provisions of this policy are not intended for short-term schedule changes, with the exception of the summer flexible and reduced hours program.

Flexible work arrangements remain subject to any federal, state, and/or local laws dealing with overtime compensation.

Not all positions are suited for flexible work arrangements. RISD reserves the right to evaluate each request and to accept or decline, and to modify or revoke flexible work arrangements that have been approved, based on operational needs and impact at that time.

Revision history

This policy was created on: 8/20/2014

Next scheduled review: 1/8/2022


Issuing Office

Human Resources

Responsible Officer

Vice President for Human Resources

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director of Employment