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Alternative Work Strategies FAQ

Is this a pilot program?

This is not a pilot program. Student Affairs has adopted a Alternative Work Strategies Policy. The policy will be reviewed and revised as needed, annually at a minimum.

When can I request an Alternative Work Strategy?

Alternative Work Strategies can be requested at any time throughout the year.

How long does it take to receive a response to my request for an Alternative Work Strategy?

Response time varies and is dependent upon the number of requests received. Please submit the request as early as possible.

Do I need to submit a request if I have a COVID-19 related arrangement already in place?

The University’s COVID-19 Alternative Work Arrangements Policy will be phased out by September 3, 2021. To keep any components of your COVID-19-related arrangement after that policy is phased out, you will need to submit a request through the new process.  

Where do I find the descriptions of the different types of Alternative Work Strategies?

Alternative Work Strategies are defined in the University’s Policy on Alternative Work Strategies.

Will the Alternative Work Strategy affect my paid time off or other benefits?

Alternative Work Strategies are not intended to affect your paid time off or other benefits. However, if your Alternative Work Strategy reduces your employment status to Part-time, your benefits may be affected. Also, because compressed work schedules increase your scheduled hours on certain days, paid time off and holidays may work differently for you. Contact SAHR to explore your situation.

Can I appeal a denied request?

If your request is denied, you can submit a new revised request for consideration.

How do I know if I am in good standing?

Staff in good standing do not have any current performance improvement plans or other corrective actions.

Is there a limit to the number of Alternative Work Strategies that will be approved?

Alternative Work Strategies are reviewed on an individual basis. Many factors are considered when deciding to approve a request including but not limited to, departmental needs, coverage and type of work, etc.

I will only need to work early one day next week, do I need to request an Alternative Work Strategy for that one day?

Alternative Work Strategies are not intended for one-time events. If you find that you need to work early one day per week consistently, then you may request an Alternative Work Strategy.

Per my manager’s direction, my department will be shifting our schedules next month to accommodate some evening and weekend programming. Do I need to request an Alternative Work Strategy for those shifts?

No. Alternative Work Strategies are initiated by staff based on personal needs or preferences. In this example, the manager initiated the change.

I am thinking of submitting a request to my supervisor for an Alternative Work Strategy. Should I discuss the request with my supervisor before I submit it?

It is advised to have a conversation with your supervisor before submitting your request. This will give you and the supervisor a chance to understand each other’s perspectives before moving to the formal request process. This will also cut down on the time need to receive your written response.

I would like to request the telecommuting option, however, I do not have the equipment to work from an alternate location (e.g. internet access, telephone, and laptop). Will my department supply me with the equipment needed?

At this time, departments cannot guarantee additional work equipment for Alternative Work Strategies. Discuss your need for different or additional equipment with your supervisor.

I have comp time I would like to use. Do I need to request an Alternative Work Strategy to use this time?

Compensatory time (comp time) is time off taken in lieu of pay and is strictly prohibited by the university.

How will my Alternative Work Strategy affect my overtime?

All overtime worked has to be approved in advance by your supervisor. Non-exempt staff will be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Please refer to the Northwestern University Staff Handbook section 8.2 Overtime for additional information.