Alternative Work Schedules:

Many Agencies Do Not Allow Employees the Full Flexibility Permitted by Law

GGD-94-55: Published: Mar 29, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 29, 1994.

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GAO reviewed selected federal agencies' authorization of alternative work schedules (AWS) for their employees, focusing on the reasons AWS are not more readily available to federal employees.

GAO found that: (1) authorizing legislation permits but does not require federal agencies to institute AWS programs; (2) agencies' headquarters promulgate general AWS policies that vary widely and generally do not permit the maximum allowable flexibility in work scheduling; (3) most agencies delegate to their operating units decisionmaking authority to institute AWS programs and decide which employees are eligible for AWS programs; (4) most of the operating units limit work schedule flexibility and many allow relatively few employees to work AWS because they believe the employees need to follow the same work schedule to accomplish the unit's work; (5) some managers believe that they cannot adequately supervise their subordinates under AWS; (6) union and nonunion employees are often treated differently; (7) managers' attitudes often determine the amount of flexibility offered in AWS programs; (8) organizations that permit large numbers of employees considerable work schedule flexibility report no adverse effects of AWS and often find that AWS enhances their ability to serve their customers; (9) a successful AWS program requires top management leadership and support and mutual trust and cooperation among all affected personnel; and (10) the National Performance Review recommended that the President issue an executive order supporting AWS which should increase the use of AWS.

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