Are you a manager or owner of one of the more than 30 million businesses in the USA?
If so, you are likely benefitting from the reopening of the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic. If forecasts are right, the economy will enjoy a bumper year. Goods and services will be in demand to compensate for the last year’s drop.
If you are a manager or business owner, how will you meet this demand? Are you considering increasing your staff numbers to meet demand? Could an alternative workweek arrangement help you to increase supply at peak times?
What is an alternative workweek arrangement? How can it benefit you? Why not read on to find out more?
What Is an Alternative Workweek?
Alternative workweek agreements are created between workers and staff to allow workers to complete their normal workweek, yet in a shorter, or compressed, amount of time. Alternatively, working hours can be split.
To protect workers and management, state and federal authorities heavily regulate alternative workweek schedule arrangements. This is to prevent the overworking of workers. The regulation of AWS may differ slightly from state to state.
For example, under California Labor Code 511, an alternative workweek schedule (AWS) is defined as any regular schedule where a person works more than eight hours in a single day.
In most cases, there is no change to the number of hours that a person works. The change is simply to the time that they work.
This being the case, what are the advantages of AWS arrangements?
What Are the Advantages?
AWS arrangements are becoming more and more popular due to the added productivity they can give to businesses and the freedom they grant to workers.
For instance, a compressed schedule may allow a worker to work only four days each week, giving them a long weekend off work every week. This brings related advantages, such as less time and money spent on the commute to work each week.
A worker who has a three-day weekend will often come into work more refreshed and less stressed than other workers. This often contributes to greater productivity during the four days they are in the workplace.
What are the Cons of AWS?
While this might sound like a good deal for everyone, there are some disadvantages. While working fewer days is advantageous, the days the worker is in the workplace are longer and more tiring.
A compressed schedule requires careful planning as, by the nature of the agreement, workers will not be in the workplace for five days per week. Other workers must be scheduled to cover duties in their absence.
When scheduling, you will need to ensure that there are enough competent and experienced staff to meet the daily needs in the workplace. This requires careful thinking and planning.
What Options Are Available?
The alternative workweek schedule you choose depends very much on your companies needs and the demand for your products and services.
For example, some companies choose to have the workers do four days of 10 hours. Thus having a long weekend. Others prefer to set up a schedule where staff works four nine-hour days and one day of eight hours. This will give them two days off each month.
In some specific cases, such as the healthcare industry, staff are permitted to work for 12 hours three days per week.
If you think that your business could benefit from one of these arrangements, what do you need to do?
How to Start an Alternative Workweek
If you are considering introducing AWS arrangements into your workplace, you will need to get staff on board and also get government approval.
You should first start by getting the consensus of your workforce. You can do this by announcing that you are considering an alternative workweek form that allows for 10 hours per day shifts within a maximum of 40 hours per week.
You will need to secure the support of at least two-thirds of each department by means of a secret ballot in order to implement your plan.
It is not necessary to state exactly what the AWS will be. Simple stating that it will not be more than 40 hours per week and that overtime pay will not be given is enough information to get the approval of workers.
How to Officially Implement AWS?
in order to get government approval to implement an AWS arrangement, you will need to show that you have done due diligence in ensuring that workers are informed and that they have accepted the agreement.
Within 30 days of the secret ballot, you will need to inform the division of labor standards enforcement. This is a detailed process that involves specific information regarding the location nature of your business, the date of the election, and the number of people affected by the decision.
What Limitations Exist for AWS?
There are some government-provided limitations for the implementation of AWS.
For example, you may have employees who have religious beliefs that require them to attend meetings or other services. According to federal law, you should ensure that your AWS will accommodate these needs.
If you take on workers after the votes have been cast, you have the choice of either requiring that they work according to the AWS or allowing them to work a standard eight-hour workday.
The advantage of this is that you can assign new workers to the work schedule that has the greatest need rather than being obliged to promise a specific schedule.
Can You Benefit From an Alternative Workweek Arrangement? And Much More
If you are an employer, you are looking to get the most out of every working week now that the economy is getting up and running again.
The rush to get products and services out of the door may leave you with too much time and not enough hours in the week.
Why not talk to your employees about alternative workweek arrangements? It may just meet your unique needs.
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