Work Schedules

The following are commonly asked questions regarding the University of Puget Sound (the “university”) Work Schedules Policy. Please click on the question to be directed to the relevant policy section.

  1. What is the university’s Work Schedules Policy?
  2. Who has authority to establish work schedules?
  3. Who has the authority to rearrange work schedules?
  4. What happens to earned vacation hours?
  5. What is a workweek?
  6. What is flexible scheduling?
  7. How does a staff member in a non-exempt position record work hours?
  8. How does a staff member in an exempt position record work hours?
  9. What are the procedures for reporting time worked and leave used?
  10. What are the procedures for reporting absences?
  11. What is a meal period?
  12. What is a rest period?

I.    Policy
The operating requirements of a staff member’s department are the primary consideration in establishing work schedules and requiring overtime and, on occasion, advance notice of changes in schedules or the need to work overtime may not be given. Supervisors establish and inform a staff member of specific work schedules, including normal starting times, break times, meal periods, and ending times. Supervisors have the authority to rearrange work schedules to meet the operating needs of the department. This might include changing the schedule, requiring overtime, or reducing work hours. Supervisors should try to give a staff member as much advance notice as possible when work schedules must be changed so that a staff member can make personal arrangements to meet the new scheduling requirements.

II.   Eligibility and Scope
Supervisors of individuals employed in nine-, ten- or eleven-month positions should ensure that earned vacation hours are used during a staff member's scheduled work months (see the Vacation Leave policy). Vacation leave for a part-time staff member may not be used to extend the number of approved workdays/workweeks or to provide monetary compensation in lieu of time off at the conclusion of the nine-, ten- or eleven-month period.

III. Workweek
The workweek is defined as a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours consisting of seven consecutive 24-hour periods.  The university’s workweek for all staff begins at 12:01 a.m. on Monday morning and ends at midnight on Sunday.

IV. Flexible Scheduling
Flexible scheduling, like the use of non-standard working hours (e.g., 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a half-hour lunch, Monday through Thursday; or 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, combined with a 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with a one hour lunch), may be permitted. Variable starting and ending times within limits set by the supervisor may also be permitted. It is the supervisor's responsibility to establish work schedules in such a way as to achieve the optimum in productivity and communication both within the work unit and with constituents. A staff member may not modify his or her schedule without supervisory approval. While a supervisor may consider staff member preferences or requests when establishing flexible schedules, supervisors must ensure that requests are addressed fairly and with the needs of the department and university as the primary consideration when approving such requests.

V.  Recording Work Hours
In consultation with the president/president’s cabinet, the vice president for finance and administration determines the university’s timekeeping system of record and approves exceptions to using it to enter/record time.

Staff members are expected to enter time worked and/or exception hours in the university’s timekeeping system of record by the established due date for each pay period.

Failure to keep accurate time worked and/or leave records may constitute falsification of university records and may subject a staff member to corrective action, up to and including termination of employment.

Staff Members in Non-exempt Positions
In those areas of the university where staff members in non-exempt positions do not regularly have access to the university’s timekeeping system of record (time clock or computer access), staff members must record time actually worked on a daily basis. If an approved initial recording document (i.e. a departmental form) other than the university's timekeeping system of record is used, the department head must ensure time worked as reported on the initial recording document and exception hours, as applicable, are correctly recorded in the timekeeping system of record by the established due date for each pay period.

Staff Members in Exempt Positions
A staff member in an exempt position is eligible to use accumulated sick and vacation leave according to the Sick Leave and Vacation Leave policies to cover whole day absences. All forms of leave should be reported in full day increments. If a staff member in an exempt position has insufficient sick or vacation leave to cover an entire day’s absence, any remaining sick or vacation leave balance will be applied to the absence and the staff member will receive a full day’s pay for the partially-covered day.  If an exempt staff member works any part of the day, no leave hours should be reported and the full day should be reported as regular pay.  

VI. Procedures for Reporting Time Worked and Leave Used
For any regularly scheduled work period during which a staff member has not worked, the explanation for a staff member's absence should be recorded using appropriate coding for the paid or unpaid time off (e.g., vacation leave, sick leave, holiday, bonus day, leave without pay). A staff member must submit time worked and/or leave records to his or her supervisor at the close of each pay period using the university’s timekeeping system of record or, when the exception has been pre-approved, an initial recording document (see section V). The supervisor is responsible for reviewing and approving a staff member's time worked and/or leave record on the first working day after the close of the pay period.

A.  Staff Senate and University Committee Service
The Staff Senate typically meets from noon to 1 p.m. Attendance at Staff Senate meetings is paid work time.  A non-exempt Staff Senate member should make arrangements with his or her supervisor for an alternate meal period on meeting days.  Where an alternate meal period cannot be scheduled due to work requirements, the missed meal period will be paid.

A staff member appointed to serve on other university committees or task forces is to consider time spent in such meetings as regular work time. If meetings of this type are scheduled outside of a staff member's regular workday, and if a staff member is in a non-exempt position, the supervisor will authorize overtime compensation or adjust a staff member's work schedule for the workweek.

VII.      Procedures for Reporting Absences
When an unexpected event occurs which prevents a staff member from reporting to work, a staff member must notify his or her supervisor as soon as possible, but in no case later than 30 minutes after the beginning of a staff member's scheduled shift. This allows time for the supervisor to adjust the department's work assignments for the day and to try to compensate for a staff member's absence. If a staff member has an absence that lasts for more than one day, he or she should notify his or her supervisor each day unless he or she has made alternate arrangements in advance with the supervisor. Some departments may require notification up to several hours in advance of the time a staff member's shift begins due to operational needs. Department-specific reporting procedures supersede this general policy statement.

A staff member (not a relative or friend) must personally notify the supervisor of absences unless a staff member is medically unable to do so. A staff member must contact the supervisor directly, rather than a coworker, unless the supervisor has designated an individual to accept call-in notices. Supervisors may specify approved methods of reporting absences (such as requiring voice-to-voice contact instead of electronic notification).

Failure to notify the supervisor according to established university and departmental policies may result in corrective action, including termination of employment.

VIII.    Meal and Rest Periods

A.  Meal Periods
The meal period is not included as paid work time. A staff member in a non-exempt position who works full-time should have a meal period which is not less than 30 minutes nor more than one hour long and which falls approximately mid-way in a staff member's daily work schedule. No staff member in a non-exempt position shall be required to work more than five consecutive hours without a meal period. Staff members may not waive their right to a meal period.  If a staff member has difficulty obtaining a meal break, the staff member must notify the supervisor so that a meal break may be provided.

B.  Rest Periods
Rest periods are included as paid work time and will not exceed 15 minutes for each four hours of work. Rest periods should be scheduled in the middle of the work period insofar as practical; however, the scheduling of rest periods will depend on the nature of the work and the service requirements of the department. If the nature of the work allows a staff member to take intermittent rest periods equivalent to 15 minutes for each four hours worked, scheduled rest periods are not required. A staff member whose total daily work schedule is less than three hours long is not eligible for rest periods.

The rest period is intended to be a relief from job tasks to be preceded and followed by an extended work period. Consequently, rest periods may not be used to cover a staff member's late arrival or early departure or to extend a lunch period. Rest period time cannot be accumulated to provide for a prolonged time-off period. 

C.  Scheduling Meal and Rest Periods
Supervisors may stagger meal or rest periods for staff members in the same work unit in order to maintain uninterrupted service.

Origination Date: 9/1958
Revised: 2001, 3/16/2011