Alternative Scheduling Benefits and Concerns

The workforce is ever-changing, and companies should take steps to keep up with new trends to maximize employee satisfaction and morale. Being able and willing to adopt employee policies can help reduce turnover and increase productivity. One change employers can make is to offer scheduling alternatives to traditional workweek of eight hours, Monday through Friday.

The power of the internet now allows people to work from the comfort of their own homes, often working for themselves and taking advantage of flexible hours. This allows people to earn a full-time living while still being able to schedule doctor’s appointments, chaperone field trips for their kids, and manage other obligations that would otherwise require taking time off work. With all of these opportunities, the traditional 40-hour, five-day workweek seems less and less attractive for many people.

The reality is that some jobs require employees to come into the office or at least remain logged in at home. However, employers can explore the possibility of alternative schedules, such as working four ten-hour days per week and taking a three-day weekend every weekend. This allows employees a regular weekday off to take care of personal business.

When considering the possibility of alternative schedules, employers should address some common concerns. Is the alternative schedule right for your type of business? What other effects might the new schedules have on your company? How do you implement an alternative schedule?

  • Overtime pay. Some states require employers to pay overtime rates for hours worked over eight per day. However, Texas is NOT one of those states. Texas only requires weekly overtime rates for hours exceeding 40 per week. Therefore, employers may offer schedules with longer hours on fewer days without having to pay time-and-a-half.
  • Clear policies. Like any other material change in employment, the new policies should be clear and accessible to employees. Employees should understand their obligations in regard to the new schedule – for example, not changing their days worked each week as they choose. This could lead employees to abuse the flexibility offered to them and reduce productivity for your business.
  • At-will employment. Employees should fully understand that at-will employment principles in Texas allow you to change their schedules back when you wish. If the alternative scheduling is not working, you have the right to switch back to a traditional schedule. While Texas law does not require advance notice of schedule changes, it is wise to give employees enough time to prepare for another schedule change.
  • Employee burnout. Working four ten-hour days in a row can be tough after an employee works eight-hour days for years. While you should always give employees time to adjust before you cancel the alternative schedule, take note of whether productivity wanes in the last two hours of the day or the last day of the week.

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The Weisblatt Law Firm provides advice for companies of all sizes and helps ensure that owners comply with all applicable state and federal laws. Please call (713) 666-1981 or contact us online to speak with our Houston business law attorney today.

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Attorney Andrew Weisblatt

Mr. Weisblatt has practiced continuously since becoming licensed in 1992 and has represented businesses ranging in size from one person start-up ventures to multi-national corporations employing hundreds of people in multiple countries. From 2005 through 2009 Mr. Weisblatt was in-house counsel and chief operating officer of a multi-national corporation in the steel products industry. That in-house position provided valuable insight into how businesses work and what they actually need from their lawyers – both in-house and outside counsel. Attorney Bio