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Policy Guide - Schedule Adjusting: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Agencies, especially those with 24/7 operations and other coverage challenges, often need to minimize employee absences. Throughout state government, agencies' budgets are affected when employees accrue significant overtime earnings. As a result, agencies often adjust the schedules of their employees to ensure adequate coverage and/or to eliminate overtime obligations. Following are examples of schedule adjusting situations:

Flexing the Work Week

Employees who may be required to work additional hours early in the work week can have their work schedule adjusted at the end of the work week to avoid overtime. This is both acceptable and fiscally prudent.

Substituting Work Hours for Annual Leave

An employee taking approved annual leave during the week may also be asked to work additional hours on his or her scheduled days off. With the approval of the employee, the agency can substitute the hours of annual leave with the additional hours worked; thus reducing or eliminating the need to use the employee's annual leave. This practice is appropriate as long as both the employee and management agree. It may be inappropriate if the agency consistently adjusts the employee's schedule so that the employee always works a full workweek and rarely gets to use his leave for a break, or if the leave is adjusted without the employee's consent.

Adjustment of Sick Leave

Agencies should be cautious when changing the kind of leave requested by an employee and approved by the supervisor, and should ensure that employees are able to use their leave as intended within the business demands of the agency. It is not acceptable for an agency to substitute compensatory leave for sick leave without the employee's permission.

The use of sick leave is limited in its application. Compensatory leave is flexible, and by design, can be used by the employee for a variety of reasons. Leave is a benefit that employees should be allowed to use within the intent of policy.