Are you ready to manage your “flex-time”?

In January 2012 new legislation in Manitoba will be in effect that allows for non-unionized individuals to enter an employee agreement with their employer regarding their hours of work. The purpose of the new legislation is to assist employees in balancing their work and personal responsibilities. Many employers enter these agreements of understanding in an effort to assist their employees but under the former legislation they also in some cases do so against the legal standards in place. This new legislation will also help to alleviate some of the potential pitfalls this may have on employers as well.

An individual flex-time agreement is a written agreement between the employee and the employer. It is not acceptable to have an agreement that is not in writing. It outlines a schedule that is different than the standard hours of work (8 hours a day and 40 hours per week) by indicating the hours that were agreed to by both parties. There are some restrictions however about how parties are able to enter in to these agreements and now there are guidelines on how to dissolve them as well. It’s important to note that if an employer wants to modify the standard working hours for all employees or a group of employees they are still required to apply to the Employment Standards branch for an Averaging Permit.

Only an employee can request a flex-time agreement and must do so voluntarily. It is not allowed for the employer to use flex-time agreements as a condition of employment nor are they able to coerce an employee into such an agreement.  It should be noted that the agreements can be terminated by either party however by giving 2 week’s notice to end the agreement. This allows the employee and the employer an appropriate time to make adjustments needed in order to return to a “standard hours of work” schedule or agree to a new agreement with a different schedule. If an employee feels as though they have been coerced the option is also available for the director of the Employment Standards branch to terminate the agreement if they are made aware and agree.

An employee must be a full time employee working a minimum of 35 hours a week at the time of the request. If the employee works different hours each week then they must have been doing so over approximately the last 6 months averaging 35 hours per week during that time.

Flex-time agreements are not able to outline just any schedule but the hours of work can be different for each day of the week. The schedule must be limited so employees do not work more than 10 hours on any given day or 40 hours per week. Any time in excess of these restrictions is still subject to overtime and should be paid as such.

An example of a schedule might look like this:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

5 hrs

10 hrs

10 hrs

10 hrs

5 hrs

   

Changes to the schedule are still allowed once the agreement has been signed in order to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances that may arise as long as the agreed upon hours do not extend beyond the 10 hours per day or 40 hours per week. This allows for some flexibility while still working within the intent of the flex-time agreement which is to provide a balance for the employees work life responsibilities.

The key points to remember are these:

  • Flex-time agreements must be initiated by the employee
  • The agreement must be in writing
  • The employee must be working full time (minimum of 35 hours per week)
  • The employee’s new schedule cannot exceed 10 hours in a day
  • The employee’s new schedule cannot exceed 40 hours in a week
  • Either party is able to terminate the agreement within the agreed upon time

An example of a flex-time agreement may look like this:

Individual Flex-time Agreement

I, (employee’s name) and (employer’s name) have agreed to the following alternate hours of work:

Both parties are aware that this agreement is voluntary and can be terminated by either party. A two week notice period must be provided in order to terminate this agreement. Should it be agreed, a lesser notice period may be agreed upon.

Employee: ___________________                       Date: _________________

Employer: ____________________                     Date: _________________

Sources:

http://www.gov.mb.ca/labour/standards/doc,individual_flex_time_agreements,factsheet.html

http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/5th-39th/vol_54b/h54b.html

http://web2.gov.mb.ca/bills/39-5/b023e.php

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One Response to Are you ready to manage your “flex-time”?

  1. Pingback: Culture and Motivation | Colin Finlay, CHRP

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