Alternative Work Arrangements

Brown University permits working arrangements that accommodate the needs of the employee and the department.

Definition and Examples of AWAs

An Alternative Work Arrangements (AWA) is any arrangement which is different from the department's norm and which accommodates the needs of the employee and the department. There are a variety of options in AWAs that may work for staff and supervisors. Alternative Work Arrangements may include flexible scheduling such as:

  • Working a different schedule (e.g., 7:00 am to 3:30 pm instead of 8:30 am to 5:00 pm);

Note: Under Rhode Island state law, employees are required to take at least a 20 minute (unpaid) break if the work day exceeds six hours. Break or lunch periods may not be used to delay the beginning of the day or cause it to end early or to modify the work hours under an AWA in any other fashion. AWAs must be structured to comply with state wage and hour laws and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act regarding minimum scheduled hours per day and payment of overtime.

  • Working a standard work week over three or four days (compressed work week; and,
  • Participating in short-term job-sharing or other special arrangements.

AWAs should be a collaboration between the staff member and the supervisor to arrive at an arrangement which is productive for both partners and the department which they serve.
Please note: if a job share or other reduction in hours worked per week is being requested on a short-term and/or trial basis, and AWA may be used. For percent time changes extending into a new fiscal year, updated staffing plans must be submitted to fully budget for the change in schedule. At that point the hours reduction becomes the regular schedule for the position, and the AWA ends.

Establishing, Reviewing and Discontinuing AWAs

If an Alternative Work Arrangement is approved, AWA will be made for a predetermined period of time which can only be extended by mutual agreement of the department and employee. The department will evaluate the effectiveness of the AWA after at the latest three months, then six months and at every annual performance review. Performance evaluations for employees on AWAs will follow the regular University schedule and salary increases will not be affected by the fact that an employee has a different work arrangement.

If the supervisor or department head who approved the AWA leaves the supervisory position, AWAs in that area will be reviewed, and either continued or canceled at the total discretion of the new supervisor.

Special Employee Requirements under AWAs

It may at times be necessary for employees on AWAs to work a regular schedule, attend important meetings, or participate in training sessions which are outside of the alternative work schedule. The employee's supervisor will attempt to give reasonable notice when special meetings or a different work schedule are necessary, but it will be the responsibility of the employee to know what is required and make appropriate arrangements to attend.

Employees with Alternative Work Arrangements who work reduced hours in the office may have to share office space and/or equipment.

Benefits and Pay Implications of AWAs

Employees will receive the same pay and benefits as they would if they were working the same number of hours per year without special arrangements. Employees sharing a job can be paid different salaries based on their background and experience as they relate to the requirements of the position.

The supervisor may extend the same development opportunities and training to employees with AWAs as are offered to employees working regular schedules.

AWA Application Procedures

The employee completes an AWA Request Form  and submits it to the supervisor.

Note: The Employee Relations section of the Human Resources Department is available as a resource to staff members and departments, upon request, in considering the potential issues which may arise with AWAs and in suggesting possible solutions. An employee who feels his/her application was inappropriately denied may seek the advice of the Employee Relations Section of Human Resources.

The supervisor or department head reviews the AWA Request Form and either approves it with additional provisions or modifications, or denies it. If a request for an AWA is denied, the reasons should be clearly communicated to the employee and the decision will be final.
Approved Alternative Work Arrangement requests are forwarded to the Human Resources Department for inclusion in the employee's file.

In certain departments, AWAs may not be feasible at all or may be limited to certain times of the year.