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Flexible Work Arrangements

Northwestern University recognizes that in today’s world many of us may be juggling the competing demands of our work and personal lives. To give employees better control over their time, Northwestern supports flex work arrangements where possible.

There are two types of flex work arrangements: occasional and formal. Occasional refers to one time or intermittent requests. Formal are arrangements that require some type of change in when or where someone works on a regular basis. Both require communication with and approval by the manager, however, it is suggested that a more formal arrangement be documented using an agreement. 

Types of flexible work arrangements


A work schedule that permits flexibility in starting and quitting times without changing the total hours worked in a work week. Most flextime arrangements specify a core period of time during the day in which all employees must be scheduled to work.

Compressed Workweek

A full-time work schedule (37.5 to 40 hours per week) compressed into less than the traditional five-day work week.


A work schedule that allows employees to work part or all of their work hours from a location other than their regular work site. An example would be an employee who works from a home office 1 day per week.


A work schedule of at least 18.75 but less than 37.5 hours per week is considered part-time and may have prorated vacation, holiday and sick time. Employees who work less than 18.75 hours per week are not benefit eligible.

Job Sharing

A work arrangement in which the responsibilities of one full-time position are shared by two employees. Job sharing differs from part-time work in that job share partners are expected to be interchangeable in work assignments and represent a single employee in all respects.


The main consideration in setting up an alternative work arrangement is how the work will be completed. Although personal needs are often a factor in any such arrangement, University/Department requirements remain the primary consideration.

The approval or denial of a request for an alternative work arrangement is at the manager’s discretion based on the business needs of the school or department.

Non-exempt employees working a flexible schedule should complete the Flexible Schedule Form with the Payroll Division so that the employee’s electronic time sheet reflects this schedule. 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.

See tips for employees considering a flexible work arrangement.


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