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Alternative Work Arrangements

The College of Arts and Science confirms its commitment to assisting employees in developing a work-life balance by supporting the use of alternative work arrangements when reasonable and practical and where operational needs will not be adversely affected. 

The College of Arts and Science permits the use of alternative work arrangements when such arrangements are pre-approved, assist in meeting full operational needs and/or job requirements, and continue to maintain a high level of service for college and university constituents. 


Any regular, full-time staff employee may submit a request for an alternative work arrangement to their supervisor. To be considered for an alternative work arrangement, employees should be meeting workplace expectations and not currently be under any disciplinary action. In general, employees should demonstrate strong communication skills, an ability to perform work independently, and accomplish tasks as assigned in a timely manner. 


When a staff member, his or her supervisor, the department chair/program director, and Senior Administrative Officer all agree that a flexible work arrangement is appropriate, a written agreement between the college and the employee must be completed setting forth the specifics of the flexible work arrangement. 

Alternative work arrangements are not an entitlement nor are they classified as a university benefit. Alternative work arrangements do not change the at-will nature of employment with the university, and they can be altered or terminated by the college or university at any time pursuant to business needs. Supervisors may restrict or adjust alternative work arrangements when workflow or other conditions require. 

Within any of the alternative work arrangements, non-exempt employees as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are still subject to all requirements of the FLSA. Employees who are exempt under the FLSA are expected to work the number of hours required to fulfill their occupational responsibilities. 

An employee can only choose one type of alternative work arrangement. There are three types of alternative work as described below: 

Flex Time

Flex time is an arrangement that allows a full-time exempt or non-exempt staff member to work hours that may differ from others in the unit or college. The staff member should work with his or her manager to determine what the workday starting and ending times would be. Flex time requires that an employee work the core hours identified by the department. For non-exempt employees, it must include a bona fide meal period. Any employee’s flexible work schedule cannot exceed 40 hours for any work week, even if the other week of the pay period has fewer hours. 

Compressed Work Schedule

A compressed work schedule allows regular, full-time exempt and non-exempt employees to work a full week’s schedule in less than five working days. The most common example is an employee working four 10-hour days in a workweek, and then not working on the fifth day. 


Telecommuting allows an employee to work from an alternative work location, such as their home, for up to three days of the regular workweek. It is an arrangement that may be appropriate for some employees in some positions when job, employee, and managers are best suited to such an arrangement. The telecommuting employee must be able to complete all aspects of their job from a remote location. The employee also must be willing to adjust his/her telecommuting schedule as needed, for example being present on campus at his/her office/department when necessary to attend meetings, training sessions, or similar events or occurrences. All requirements, procedures, and expectations for technology use must be discussed and agreed upon in advance of a telecommuting arrangement. The cost of internet service or other required technologies, supplies, and equipment for remote work are the employee’s responsibility. 


It is strongly recommended that employees who intend to request an alternative work arrangement first speak with their supervisor about expectations, schedules, and responsibilities. In order to be considered for an alternative work arrangement, the employee will need to complete the Alternative Work Arrangement Request form and obtain the approval of their manager, department chair or program director, and Senior Administrative Officer. After these approvals have been obtained, the Chief Business Officer will have final approval of all arrangements. 

In the event of an approval, the alternative work arrangement will begin with a 90-day trial period, and can be discontinued during or after that period at any time at the discretion of the employee’s manager if the arrangement does not meet the operational needs of the department/program and/or the employee does not comply with the arrangement. At the conclusion of the trial period the employee and his/her manager will evaluate the arrangement and determine whether it should be continued, modified, or terminated. All alternative work arrangements will be reviewed as part of the quarterly employee review process. 

The College of Arts and Science adheres to Vanderbilt’s established employment policies. In cases where college guidelines differ from university policy, it is expected that the more restrictive policy take precedence.