S. 517 would authorize employees and agencies to experiment with flexible and compressed work schedules. The most common compressed work schedule found among 33 non-Federal organizations contacted by GAO was the 4-day, 40-hour workweek. Advantages noted for compressed schedules were increased productivity, better employee morale, and reduced short-term leave use. Disadvantages reported were fatigue experienced after 8 hours, supervisory problems caused by differing schedules, and difficulties in responding to a public accustomed to a 5-day workweek. Flexible schedules usually consist of core time, during which all employees must be present, and flexible time, within which employees may choose their arrival and departure times. Advantages reported for these schedules were: reduced tardiness, reduced short-term leave use, improved morale, more quiet time in the early and late hours, better communication between field offices in different time zones, and increased use of carpools. Disadvantages reported involved problems in supervisory coverage and office coverage resulting from different schedules. Since 1973, an increasing number of Federal establishments have instituted flexible schedules. However, they have been using only simple 8-hour floating day schedules because of legal impediments such as the rigid workhour and overtime pay requirements of the United States Code. The Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, allows daily flexibility but requires overtime pay for work exceeding 40 hours a week. The bill would eliminate the legal limitations on experiments with flexible and compressed work schedules in the Federal Government which could benefit both employers and employees.
Skip to Highlights