|Subchapter 4610 - Tours of Duty
Section K - Alternative Work Schedules: Compressed and Flexible
Subsection e -- Maxiflex
|Example of Maxiflex Schedule||
EXAMPLE OF MAXIFLEX SCHEDULE
Total Hours Worked Biweekly 82
Note: Each day (except Saturday) includes a ½ hour unpaid meal break. This is a sample only; schedules may vary for each employee and from pay period to pay period.
The basic work requirement is 80 hours per pay period for full-time employees. The basic work requirement for part-time employees is the number of hours specified on the personnel action. Employees may choose to vary the length of the workweek and workday, but the total number of hours required for the pay period is 80 hours.
Although supervisors may further define the use of gliding (flexible start/stop times), core time deviations and the earning/using of credit hours, some component of each of these must be allowed in order for the schedule to be considered a “maxiflex “ schedule.
|Locations Where Maxiflex May Not be Approved||
Maxiflex schedules may not be approved for any work unit that includes employees who perform overtime work under 7 U.S.C. 2260 (Import-Export Act) (see the end of this section for the VS exception).
Maxiflex may not be appropriate in other locations where employees are required to be present at specific hours of the workday. Agency heads or their designees may exclude other field locations from maxiflex tours of duty.
|Selection of Tour||
Full-time employees with the concurrence of the supervisor set up a proposed tour of duty of 80 hours per pay period.
Part-time employees have proposed tours for the number of hours specified on their personnel action.
These schedules may be changed at any time as long as they are:
Tours will be designated in writing. An employee may designate a day or days off. These days are limited to Monday or Friday for headquarters employees and Monday, Friday, or Saturday for field employees. Core time for headquarters employees is Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Field locations may establish their own core times based on mission requirements or may choose to adhere to these. This does not preclude an employee from requesting to use leave or credit hours during core time or from requesting a core time deviation. An SF-71, Application for Leave, (or other locally approved format) may be used for these purposes. Approval of these requests is at the supervisor's discretion.
Note: Although days off (flexible days) are typically Monday, Friday and /or Saturday, other days within the workweek may be appropriate as an employee's day off, if not detrimental to mission accomplishment. If an employee is expected to work on a flexible day, s/he is also expected to adhere to core hours on that day (i.e., be present at work between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. unless on approved absence), based on mission or office requirements.
The tour of duty and the day or days off must be approved in advance of the start of the pay period. Approval for use of leave or core time deviations may be granted during the pay period as long as they are approved before they are used.
Unless the supervisor has restricted glide time, employees may choose to glide within the flexible time bands without regard to the previously set tour of duty. Full-time employees are responsible for meeting work requirements and accounting for the complete 80-hour pay period.
Approved tours of duty will be filed with the T&A report. There are several options for scheduling tours of duty:
(1) Five 8-hour days (i.e., Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.); or
(2) A nonstandard tour of duty; or
(3) An emulated compressed schedule (i.e., 5-4/9, 4/10).
| Customer Service Bands
||The chart below reflects each Agency's customer service bands. These are the hours that all offices must have phone coverage and technical assistance available.
|Length of Workday and Workweek||
For headquarters employees, scheduled tours of duty under maxiflex may not begin earlier than 6 a.m. and must end no later than 6 p.m. However, officials having delegated authority for determining tours of duty may expand the length of the workday based on work requirements on either side of these parameters (night differential pay is required). The length of the workday should be expanded only for temporary situations where the mission of the work entity requires that the additional hours are needed. Officials should consider such factors as building access and the health and safety of employees. Days on which flexible and core hours are to be established are Monday through Saturday. Headquarters employees may not apply Saturday hours to the 80 hour basic work requirement. (See following pages for guidance on Saturday hours).
Field locations should refer to their local and/or program policies for the permitted earliest/latest start/stop times. Days on which flexible and core hours are to be established are Monday through Saturday. (See following pages for guidance on Saturday hours.)
The length of the workday and the workweek may vary within the established parameters, but employees must account for 80 hours for the pay period.
Actual time worked on a daily basis may vary from the set schedule by gliding during flexible time bands, by earning and using credit hours, by being in an approved leave status, or by an approved core time deviation.
Work hours, exclusive of overtime, must be between flexible and core time bands as established by officials having delegated authority to determine tours of duty.
|Night Differential||When the tour of duty includes 8 or more hours available for work during daytime hours (i.e., between 6 am and 6 pm), an employee is not entitled to night differential, even though he/she voluntarily elects to vary his/her arrival or departure time during hours for which night pay normally is paid.|
|Time Bands||The tour of duty consists of the flexible time bands and the core time bands. Employees are allowed flexibility within the flexible time bands unless restricted by the supervisor for work-related or building access reasons. Employees must work during core time bands unless they are granted prior approval for a CTD or use of leave or credit hours.|
The term "glide" means that an employee may vary from the prescheduled starting time each day within the morning flexible period or the prescheduled departure time during the afternoon flexible hours. Employees may choose to glide within the flexible time bands, regardless of the previously set tour of duty. Any deviation from the number of hours previously scheduled for duty on a given day must be accounted for by making up the work during flexible time periods within the same pay period or by using leave.
Note: Unless restricted by the supervisor for work-related reasons or building access, it is assumed that all employees will be permitted to glide without prior approval of the supervisor. Employees still are responsible, however, for meeting work requirements.
Example: If an employee has a meeting scheduled for 8 a.m., he/she is expected to report to work by 8 a.m.
Supervisors may schedule employees for certain days and hours, if necessary, to meet work requirements.
Note: The basic work requirement for full-time employees under maxiflex is 80 hours of work in a 2-week pay period. Credit hours are hours worked in excess of the basic work requirement. Until employees have completed 80 hours in a pay status, they have not fulfilled their basic work requirement and therefore may not earn credit hours.
The basic work requirement is met when employees have completed 80 hours of regular time, which is shown as TC 01, or 80 hours of TC 01 and another type of paid leave, such as the following (this is not an all-inclusive list):
TC 01 - Regular Time
Supervisors are responsible for approving/disapproving employees' requests to work credit hours.
Employees must take an unpaid 30-, 45-, or 60-minute break during the meal period. The length of the meal period may vary from day to day and the length of the workday or workweek will be adjusted according to the period taken for the meal break. Exceptions to the meal-period requirement may be made only when an employee works less than five (5) hours on a given day (i.e., takes leave or has credit hours to cover the rest of the day). Employees must record their time for the meal period only when a deviation to the regularly scheduled tour of duty occurs causing the workday to be extended.
Note: AMS employees must maintain a daily time log.
Overtime hours are those hours in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week that are officially ordered and approved by management in advance of the work being performed, but do not include credit hours.
Work performed at the option of the employee in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week that is not in excess of the 80-hour biweekly work requirement is not overtime work.
|Core Time Deviations (CTD)||
The purpose of core time is to ensure that during a certain number of hours of each day all employees within a designated group will be present on the job. However, in some circumstances, supervisors may approve the use of a core time deviation (CTD). CTD is an absence specifically authorized by the supervisor during the core time that may be made up during flexible time within the same pay period in lieu of a charge to any type of leave.
Example: John's tour of duty under maxiflex is Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. He has an appointment on Tuesday at 10 a.m. He requests a CTD from his supervisor and it is approved. He is absent from the office from 9:30 until 11:30 a.m. John works until 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday so that he will complete 80 hours of work during the pay period. He does not have to use leave for the time he was absent from work on Tuesday because he was able to complete his 80-hour work requirement in the pay period. Since John has altered his normal workday of 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., he must sign in/out on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Nothing under this provision is to be construed to prevent an employee from requesting accrued annual and sick leave as appropriate. Rather, CTD's provide an alternative for an employee when circumstances make the granting of a CTD mutually beneficial for the employee and the organization.
CTD is to be used only at the specific request of the employee; however, the granting of a CTD is at the discretion of the supervisor. It should be justified by circumstances that make the granting of a CTD mutually beneficial for both the organization and the employee.
Employees must submit a written request to the supervisor for approval. For example, an SF-71 may be used to document these requests by checking the “Other” block and writing in “CTD.” The day and hours covered by the CTD should be indicated in Blocks 4-A, 4-B, and 4-C of the SF-71. The form should be filed with the T&A report. Alternately, the CTD may be documented on the flexible logsheet and initialed by the supervisor, or it may be documented electronically or by written memorandum.
|Minimum Charge for CTDs||
The minimum charge for CTD's is 15 minutes. CTD's may be used only in multiples of 15 minutes.
Examples: 1-hour, 1 hour and 15 minutes, 1 hour and 45 minutes, etc.
|Charging Leave Under Maxiflex||
The maximum amount of sick leave, annual leave, and excused absence on other than a holiday that an employee may be charged is the number of hours that an employee was scheduled to work on that day. Also, if the office is closed for the entire day due to hazardous weather, the excused absence is for the number of hours the employee was scheduled to work that day. For additional information on excused absence due to emergency/weather situations, refer to Subchapter 4630, Absence and Leave, Section D.
Maxiflex schedules allow for glide time, CTD's, and credit hours. Employees are not charged leave if they work 80 hours in the pay period during flexible and core hours. Employees must sign in and out at the beginning and end of the day and for the meal break, if the lunch was longer than 30 minutes and/or the workday was extended due to the earning/taking of leave, credit hours, compensatory time, overtime, etc.
Note: Full-time employees working under maxiflex who do not work 80 hours in a pay period must be charged annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay, or absence without leave or use previously earned credit hours, as appropriate, in order to make up the 80 hour requirement.
Note: AMS employees must maintain a daily time log.
SES employees cannot earn credit hours.
AMS & GIPSA: Credit hours may only be earned with prior supervisory approval.
Time spent traveling away from the official duty station during the prescheduled tour of duty is considered work time. Employees may remain on their flexible schedule only if the supervisor can assure that the prescheduled tour will be completed. Otherwise, the supervisor must require the employee to return to a standard 8-hour-a-day tour under the provisions of maxiflex.
Time spent traveling away from the official duty station outside of the prescheduled tour of duty may be considered as work time so long as it:
In order to be considered hours of work, employees must be actually traveling or performing work.
Employees cannot earn credit hours for time spent traveling outside the official duty station (e.g., in transit in a plane, train, auto.).
Note: When an employee's travel involves more than one time zone, work time is computed based on the time zone the employee was in at the start of the workday.
When scheduled training does not conform to the employee's regularly scheduled tour of duty, the employee's work schedule may be changed, for example, to five 8-hour days under maxiflex for the period of time during which the employee will attend the training.
Note: Employees may not earn credit hours for time spent in training.
||Since military leave may now be used in hour increments, employees are no longer required to revert to a standard tour of duty under the provisions of maxiflex (i.e., 5 8-hour days).|
|Late Arrival/Early Dismissal Due to Hazardous Weather Conditions
When Weather and Safety Leave (WSL) (TC 66) is granted because of hazardous weather conditions, the starting and ending times of an employee's scheduled tour of duty as documented will remain the same. For example, if the Washington, DC area announces a delayed arrival, then WSL may be granted from the employee's scheduled starting time up to the designated arrival time. If an office closes early because of hazardous weather, an employee may be granted WSL for the period of time remaining in his/her daily scheduled tour of duty. Teleworkers are granted WSL for the commute time home. Upon arrival home they are expected to telework until the end of the regularly scheduled tour or take leave.
For additional information on emergency dismissal, see Subchapter 4630, Absence and Leave, Section D.
|Office Closure Due to Hazardous Weather Conditions
If an office is closed for the entire day because of hazardous weather:
Note: USDA policy does not permit teleworking when there is a child or elder care present who is not capable of self-care or another adult is not present to provide care. This results in making the home location an unapproved worksite. Since the employee is not permitted to telework and s/he cannot safely travel to or perform work at the regular office location, management may grant WSL.
For additional information on closures due to hazardous weather, see Human Resources Desk Guide Subchapter 4630, Section D.
|General Maxiflex Time Band Chart
The following chart shows flexible and core time bands and the meal period for maxiflex.
Time bands may be further restricted locally but may not be expanded beyond the days and hours specified below. Restrictions must be made in writing.
|Definition of Credit Hours||
Credit hours are any hours worked that are in excess of a full-time employee's basic workweek requirement of 80 hours of work in a pay period and that the employee elects to work during flexible times so as to vary the length of the workweek.
Part-time employees (16-32 hours per week and 32-64 per pay period) may earn credit hours once they have worked their scheduled basic work requirement.
Credit hours are distinguished from overtime hours (and compensatory time) in that they do not constitute overtime work. Overtime work is work in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 in a week that is officially ordered and approved by management in advance of the work being performed by the employee. Compensatory time is earned in lieu of overtime pay for irregular or occasional or regular overtime. Credit hours are worked at the employee's option.
Note: AMS & GIPSA employees must have prior supervisory approval before earning any credit hours.
Credit hours may be earned only Monday through Saturday (must have prior approval to earn credit hours on Saturdays) during flexible time bands. Since credit hours may be earned only during the flexible time band, any hours of work performed outside the flexible time band, must meet the requirements for overtime work in order to be compensated. Such hours will be paid as overtime or compensatory time in accordance with agency premium pay guidelines.
Note: The basic work requirement for full-time employees under maxiflex is 80 hours of work in a 2-week pay period. Credit hours are hours worked in excess of the basic work requirement. Until employees have completed 80 hours in pay status, they have not fulfilled their basic work requirement and therefore may not earn credit hours.
Note: Time spent in transit for employees who are traveling outside of the official duty station that are in excess of the 80 hour basic work requirement are not considered hours worked for the purpose of earning credit hours.
Example 1: On Friday, an employee realizes that he/she will not finish an important project by Monday morning. He/she asks the supervisor if he/she can come in to work on Saturday and earn credit hours. The supervisor approves the request. The employee reports to work on Saturday and works from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The employee may earn credit hours since Saturday is part of the flexible time band. In order to pay an employee overtime or give him/her compensatory time off for these hours, the supervisor and the appropriate official must have ordered and approved the employee to work overtime on Saturday. The employee then must be paid overtime or compensatory time.
Example 2: An employee works until 8 p.m. on Thursday evening. The employee may not be credited with base hours or credit hours if the flexible time band ends at 6 p.m. In order to pay employees overtime or give them compensatory time off for these hours, the supervisor and the appropriate authorizing official must have ordered and approved the employee to work.
Note: There is no concept of suffer or permit under FLSA for work voluntarily performed under flexible work programs.
|Earning Credit Hours||
Credit hours may be earned only after the employee has completed the basic work requirement of 80 hours (for full-time employees) for the pay period. Part-time employees are limited to earning one-forth of the total scheduled work hours per pay period. This requirement is met when the employee has worked 80 hours of regular time (indicated by Code 01 on the T&A report) or a combination of TC 01 and another type of paid leave, such as the following, before credit hours can be earned:
TC 01 - Regular Time
Credit hours can be earned only under maxiflex schedules. Employees may earn up to 24 credit hours without prior supervisory approval when a supervisor has not established written guidelines for earning/using credit hours.
Exception: All AMS & GIPSA employees must obtain supervisory approval before earning credit hours.
|Using Credit Hours||An employee has the right to use earned credit hours in a subsequent pay period subject to the supervisor's authority to approve the time at which it may be used. An employee also may earn and use credit hours in the same pay period, with supervisory approval. Credit hours are to be counted as a part of the basic work requirement to which they are applied. An employee is entitled to his/her basic rate of pay for credit hours.|
|Limitations on Carryover of Credit Hours||
For full-time employees under maxiflex, a maximum of 24 credit hours may be carried over from one pay period to the next.
For part-time employees, the maximum number of credit hours which may be earned and carried over is one forth the total of the employee's scheduled work hours per pay period (5 U.S.C. 6126[a]).
|Transferring Credit Hours to MRP||Employees transferring from other Federal agencies (e.g., DHS to APHIS, ARS to AMS) and within MRP agencies (e.g., GIPSA to AMS) may not transfer earned credit hours. Prior to entering on duty, earned credit hours must be liquidated in accordance with the policies of the losing Department or Agency.|
|Exceeding the Maximum Limit on Credit Hours||Employees who exceed the maximum number of credit hours forfeit those hours without compensation.|
|Minimum Earning Increments for Credit Hours||
Credit hours may be earned and used in 15-minute increments. Rounding is not allowed when working credit hours. A full 15-minute period must be worked in order to earn 15 minutes of credit time.
Credit hours can be earned only under maxiflex.
|SES Employees||SES employees cannot earn credit hours.|
|Stay-in-School Employees||Because of a December 1994 change in regulations (Federal Register, Volume 59, no. 241, 12/94) the student educational program is year round. Students may work full-time or part-time. There are no limitations on the number of hours a student can work per week; however, the schedule may not interfere with the student's academic schedule. Students may work maxiflex schedules and may earn credit hours. Credit hours are earned once the student has worked his/her basic work requirement. Credit hours are earned voluntarily and the student must elect to earn them.|
|Credit Hours While in Travel Status||
Credit hours may be earned while in travel status (at a temporary duty site) outside the official duty station if:
Time spent traveling (i.e., in transit) away from the official duty station that is outside of the prescheduled tour of duty, outside the flexible time bands, or that exceeds the daily limit on non-overtime hours that may be worked, or the 80 hours of the pay period, would have to meet the requirements for travel overtime to be compensable and cannot be used as the basis for earning credit hours.
|Credit Hours During Training||Credit hours may not be earned during periods of training under the Government Employees Training Act. Supervisors, in conjunction with the employee, should change the employee's tour of duty to conform to the hours of training for pay periods when the employee will be enrolled in full-time Government-paid training.|
|Payment for Credit Hours||
Employees who are no longer subject to a maxiflex schedule will be paid at their current rate of basic pay for:
Supervisors should, to the extent possible, require employees to use accumulated credit hours before employees leave the work schedule. Questions concerning payment for credit hours should be referred to the SPO.
|Earning Credit Hours on Saturdays||
Headquarters employees with prior written approval from supervisors may earn credit hours on Saturdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Field employees with prior written approval from supervisors may earn credit hours on Saturdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Note: All AMS & GIPSA employees must obtain supervisory approval before earning any credit hours.
Supervisors must remember that work ordered by the supervisor on a Saturday is overtime, not credit hours.
|VS/WS 24-Hour Maxiflex Exception
VS/WS field personnel may be assigned to a 24-hour maxiflex tour. When assigned to this tour, the previous maxiflex provisions as well as those noted below must be followed.
Note: Managers/supervisors with employees assigned to VS Regional and Area Offices must ensure office coverage during the core times noted below and in particular, on Mondays and Fridays. This means that employees scheduled to report for duty on Mondays and/or Fridays must continue to adhere to the core times.
WHEN MAXIFLEX MAY NOT BE USED: Maxiflex may NOT be used for any work that is performed under Title 7 USC 2260 (Import/Export Act).
This means that if it is known before the beginning of a pay period that an employee must work Import/Export for the entire pay period, he/she should be taken off maxiflex for the pay period and put on a standard tour of duty (8 hours per day) that coincides with the established hours of service of the port and the hours which the employee will be required to work. Overtime is then ordered and approved by management for over 8 hours in a day or 40 in a week.
If it is determined prior to the beginning of or during the pay period that an employee is needed to work a few days of Import/Export then an employee must adjust his/her daily tour to reflect an 8-hour workday for the day(s) assigned to Import/Export work. The employee remains under the maxiflex tour, he/she just works 8-hours per day. The start/stop times for that day(s) shall be based on the needs of the service and the established hours of service at the port. Overtime is ordered for over 8 hours in a day or 40 in a week.
Credit hours may not be earned for Import/Export work at any time.
NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL (ND): When the tour of duty includes 8 or more hours available for work during daytime hours (i.e., between 6 am and 6 pm), an employee is not entitled to ND, even though he/she voluntarily elects to vary his or her arrival or departure time during hours for which ND is normally paid.
Exception: Supervisors must pay ND for those hours that must be worked between 6 pm and 6 am to complete an 8-hour daily tour of duty. This means that prior to the beginning of an administrative workweek, if it is known that an employee will be required to work during ND hours because that is the only time industry is available or the only time the work can be performed, then the ND hours must be scheduled and paid. ND must also be paid if the need to work at night occurs during the administrative workweek and that is the ONLY time that the work may be performed. If however, the work may be performed between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm, and the employee chooses not to perform the work during those hours, then ND may NOT be paid.
SUNDAY PREMIUM PAY: A full-time or part-time employee who performs regularly scheduled nonovertime work, a part of which is performed on Sunday, is entitled to Sunday premium pay for the entire daily tour of duty, not to exceed 8 hours.
A full-time or part-time employee is entitled to Sunday premium pay for the entire daily tour of duty, up to 8 hours, based upon electing to work flexible hours on a Sunday.
An employee cannot change his/her tour of duty solely for the purpose of receiving premium pay, i.e., when travel is necessary on a Sunday, an employee may not change his/her tour of duty to begin on Sunday so he/she can be paid the Sunday premium pay. A part-time employee is
|24-Hour Maxiflex Chart||