NASA logo NASA Headquarters' Directives
HQPR 3600.1
Effective Date: September 20, 2010
Expiration Date: September 20, 2022
Responsible Office: LM
Hours of Duty
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Table of Contents | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | Chapter6 | Chapter7 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE

CHAPTER 3. General Requirements for Work Schedules

3.1 Available Work Schedules

3.1.1 NASA HQ work schedules include:

a. Standard (Traditional) Tour;

b. Alternative Work Schedules: Compressed Tour- 5/4- 9; and Flexible Tours - Flexitour, Variable Week, and Maxiflex; and

c. Irregular Tours of Duty: Intermittent and First Forty Tours.

3.1.2 All full-time and part-time employees are automatically placed on a Standard tour of duty upon entering NASA HQ. An employee may continue to work the Standard tour or request a work schedule change to one of the alternative work schedule options. The HQ Work Schedule (Tour) Change Request in Appendix D will be used for this purpose. All full-time and part-time employees are eligible to participate in alternative work schedules.

3.1.3 The term "Alternative Work Schedules" (AWS) encompasses two different work schedule variations - flexible work schedules (FWS) and compressed work schedules (CWS). Each of these represents a different kind of adjustment to the traditional fixed schedule of 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, which begins and ends at the same time each day.

3.1.4 Operating procedures and requirements are provided for each available work schedule in the following chapters of this HQPR. The criteria for each separate work schedule are not interchangeable.

3.1.5 Managers and supervisors are encouraged to utilize work schedule flexibilities in establishing variations in employees' work schedules to the maximum extent possible, as long as there is no adverse effect on the organization's operations (i.e., loss of productivity, diminished level of services, or increase in costs of operations) or cause an undue burden to co-workers.

3.2 Balance of Work and Personal Needs

3.2.1 Employees required to work prolonged hours are often subject to extraordinary work stress which compounded with family responsibilities can affect their health and safety. Consideration of potentially detrimental impacts of unusually long work hours be given a high priority to prevent worker stress and undesirable outcomes. By varying lengths of work periods, worker stress and fatigue can be minimized.

3.2.2 To minimize stress in the workplace:

a. Employees shall not be scheduled to work 12 hours a day for more than 3 consecutive days (i.e., 10 hours regularly scheduled work and 2 additional hours of either overtime, compensatory time, or credit hours). A 12-hour day is typically the longest that an employee can manage before the length of the work day starts to negatively influence the employee's productivity and fatigue level.

b. Work of an urgent nature or situational circumstances may occur that would require, with supervisory approval, an employee to work longer hours for over an extended period of time. These situations should be kept to a minimum. Such situations demand careful evaluation of the total scenario and prudent scheduling of work periods when pressing workers to and beyond normal requirements.

3.3 Criteria and Considerations When Approving Work Schedules

3.3.1 It is recognized that each HQ office has varied needs and should ensure sufficient coverage to conduct business and a balanced workforce to address different functional or program areas. These considerations should be primary factors in the determination for approving, or continuing to approve, an employee's AWS. In addition:

a. An employee's participation in an AWS is a management option rather than a right or entitlement of an employee, is strictly voluntary by an employee and is subject to supervisory approval.

b. Each employee is encouraged to consult his/her supervisor as well as co-workers and other individuals with whom the employee interfaces in the accomplishment of assigned work prior to submitting a request to change his/her work schedule to ensure that the proposed days/hours will not interfere with work activities or office coverage.

c. All work schedules have definite days and hours of duty scheduled in advance of the start of a pay period. An employee requesting a Variable Week or Maxiflex tour will enter into a written agreement providing the details of the work schedule. The HQ Flexible Work Schedule Agreement (for Variable Week and Maxiflex Tours) in Appendix E be used for this purpose.

d. In reviewing an employee's work schedule request, the supervisor shall consider the following criteria:

(1) The work schedule will not adversely affect the services that are provided to other NASA organizations, co- workers or external organizations. In addition, the work schedule will not result in the increase (or decrease) of workloads for employees who choose either to participate or not to participate in AWS. Consider the job function and how the proposed adjusted schedule might affect the completion of duties, how it would impact other staff, and how it may affect any customers serviced. Although a work schedule should not cause an adverse impact to an organization or another employee, an employee's request should not be denied simply because not all employees can participate in an AWS.

(2) Adequate staff coverage will be available during the employee's requested day(s) off and the position does not have work requirements which preclude a regularly scheduled day(s) off.

(3) Adequate supervision will be available for trainees or employees new to the organization. Examples of employees who may not be appropriate candidates for an immediate approval of an AWS include: those who are in trainee status (particularly those who are receiving on- the-job training requiring immediate, personal feedback); those on initial probationary period of Federal service or a first-time appointee to NASA; those involved in corrective action or those whose performance or conduct does not meet expectations.

(4) When multiple requests from employees are made for the same/similar schedule and all requests cannot be approved, assess the work to determine how much flexibility is possible and consider factors such as family responsibilities, educational activities, volunteer activities, or transportation issues when a choice should be made.

(5) Work schedules should not be approved or denied based primarily on such characteristics as classification, pay range, or occupational group. While some employees' positions are more restrictive due to organizational needs, they may still be able to participate in limited AWS options on an ongoing or occasional basis.

(6) The decision on the employee's requested work schedule should be consistent with decisions made on other positions with similar duties, responsibilities, and work requirements in the organizational unit.

(7) Work schedule arrangements should be communicated to other staff and other appropriate individuals; the successes and challenges monitored; the arrangements periodically evaluated; and regular discussions conducted with employees to work out any issues.

3.3.2 If, in the supervisor's judgment, the requested work schedule does not adversely impact the employee's job assignment or the mission of the organization, the tour should be accommodated.

3.3.3 When a work schedule cannot be approved as requested, it is discussed with the employee and possible alternatives explored, if applicable. Decisions to deny a request includes the work-related reasons and, when the employee might reapply or what actions the employee will take to improve his/her chance of approval.

3.3.4 Once an employee is approved for a particular work schedule, the work hours and days are fixed and the individual is expected to work that schedule in a consistent manner. Employees shall not change from one work schedule to another or modify a work schedule without supervisory approval.

3.3.5 Supervisors may deny, modify, change, or revoke an employee's work schedule at any time based on such reasons as seasonal workloads; staffing issues; overtime considerations; performance or conduct issues; non- compliance of the provisions in this HQPR or office procedures set forth by the supervisor; and/or other work- related reasons (i.e., training, official travel, workshops).

3.3.6 An employee who is temporarily or permanently assigned to a new work location may negotiate with his/her supervisor to continue or establish a new work schedule. An employee who changes work assignments (i.e., transfer, promotion, etc) is not guaranteed that the previously agreed upon work schedule will remain in effect.

3.4 Request and Approval of a Work Schedule (Tour) Change

3.4.1 Employee Initiated Request: An employee may request a temporary or permanent change to his/her current tour of duty for such reasons as workload, personal responsibilities, illness, leave of absence, etc. An employee shall complete a HQ Work Schedule (Tour) Change Request (Appendix D) 15 days prior to the proposed effective date to request a change to his/her work schedule. For requests to change to a Variable Week tour or Maxiflex tour, an employee will also complete Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the HQ Flexible Work Schedule Agreement (for Variable Week and Maxiflex Tours) (Appendix E) and attach it to the HQ Work Schedule (Tour) Change Request (Appendix D) to document the proposed established days/hours. Once an employee requests and is approved a specific tour, the work schedule is intended to be permanent and should not be changed for at least two pay periods, unless the supervisor establishes a different timeframe. Therefore, prior to requesting a non-standard tour, employees should carefully review all tour type options and select the most appropriate tour that will ensure the accomplishment of assigned work activities and personal responsibilities. Supervisors may require their employees to submit a HQ Work Schedule (Tour) Change Request (Appendix D) earlier than the required 15 days in order to afford an opportunity to work out any required schedule issues. Supervisors should approve work schedule changes as soon as practicable, but not later than 15 calendar days from receipt of the request. Employees shall follow the timeframes according to office procedures and established timeframes for their assigned organization. A supervisor shall approve or deny an employee's timely work schedule change request and communicate the decision to the employee in advance of the pay period requested by the employee. In addition:

a. An approval of a work schedule change should be documented in Section 2 of the HQ Work Schedule (Tour) Change Request (Appendix D), and Section 4 of the HQ Flexible Work Schedule Agreement (for Variable Week or Maxiflex Tours) (Appendix E), if applicable.

b. A disapproval of a work schedule change will be documented in Section 2 of the HQ Work Schedule (Tour) Change Request (Appendix D). The completed HQ Work Schedule (Tour) Change Request (Appendix D) and HQ Flexible Work Schedule Agreement (for Variable Week and Maxiflex Tours) (Appendix E), will be retained by the supervisor and/or the organization's WebTADS Point of Contact as long as the schedule is in effect. All approved work schedule changes will be recorded in WebTADS no later than the end of the first week of the pay period in which it is effective.

3.4.2 Management Initiated Request: A supervisor has the right to temporarily change an employee's work schedule for operational reasons including anticipated or emergency work requirements, training, or temporary duty. The duration of a temporary change will vary in length depending on the situation but normally will not exceed two pay periods. Work schedule changes should be communicated to an employee in advance of the pay period and documented in WebTADS by the end of the first week of the pay period in which it is effective. In addition:

a. An employee scheduled for travel or required to work on special projects, will temporarily revert to a Standard tour unless the current schedule has been agreed upon between the supervisor, the host activity/project leader and the employee.

b. An employee scheduled for training conforms with the hours of the training course. If the hours of training are less than the employee's daily tour of duty, after considering the number of days involved, the hours of training per day, the location at which the training is being held, and any other pertinent factors, the supervisor shall:

(1) Require the employee to report to the regular worksite prior to and/or after training in order to make up the difference between the tour of duty and the length of the training;

(2) Grant up to one hour per day of excused absence for the difference between the employee's tour of duty and the number of hours of training (minus any commuting time between the training and worksite); or

(3) Require the employee to revert to a Standard tour of duty for the pay period(s) during which the training occurs. If it is determined that an employee's participation in a non-standard work schedule is not of benefit to the organization's needs (i.e., if the objectives or priorities of the organization no longer supports the employee's work schedule; the employee's participation in a work schedule is substantially disrupting the functions of the organization; or the employee's performance or conduct fails to meet expectations) the supervisor shall:

a. restrict the employee's choice of arrival and departure time;

b. restrict the use of credit hours;

c. temporarily suspend the employee from a particular AWS and direct a work schedule change to a Standard or other appropriate tour; or

d. terminate the employee or a group of employees from a particular AWS and direct a work schedule change to a Standard or other appropriate tour. Prior to taking action to terminate, restrict, or temporarily change an employee's work schedule, the supervisor shall meet with the employee to discuss the circumstances and, provides the employee a reasonable period of time to correct the problem. Supervisors shall provide as much notice as possible before directing the change in a tour of duty in order for the employee to make any necessary transportation or personal arrangements, but not less than one full pay period before the effective date, unless the supervisor and employee mutually agree to an earlier or later effective date. Any change of tour of duty, whether temporary or permanent, willbe recorded in WebTADs and the reason for the change documented in Section 2 of the HQ Work Schedule (Tour) Change Request (Appendix D).

3.4.3 Miscellaneous Reasons for a Change in Work Schedules: A non-standard work schedule is only valid as long as the employee is working in the same organization where the schedule was approved, and under the same supervisor. When an employee has a position and/or supervisory reporting change (detail, promotion, reassignment, etc.), an employee shall discuss his/her current work schedule with the supervisor to ensure no modifications or change in tour of duty is required. When a new supervisor is assigned to an organizational unit, the supervisor shall review the work schedules of assigned employees to determine if changes in tours of duty or modifications are required.

3.5 Modifications to Approved Work Schedules

3.5.1 For employees on an approved Compressed, Variable Week or Maxiflex tour, when work demands or meetings require an employee to be present outside the approved work schedule, the supervisor may approve a modification to an employee's hours and/or days for the affected pay period. Work schedule modifications cannot be made to Standard or Flexitour tours. Management initiated requests should be kept to a minimum so that the benefits of the AWS will be preserved; however, work requirements take precedence over the convenience of the employee. Supervisors shall notify an employee of any management required modifications as soon as the need is known.

3.5.2 An employee shall not arbitrarily modify his/her established hours/days without prior supervisory approval. Modifications may be approved at the request of the employee when there are workload demands or unanticipated meetings. On rare occasions, a modification may be approved by the supervisor for personal emergency situations. An employee notifies the supervisor as soon as he/she is aware that the work demand cannot be completed within the current work schedule or an emergency situation arises and request a modification to the work schedule.

3.5.3 For an employee on a Variable Week or Maxiflex tour, the HQ Flexible Work Schedule Agreement (for Variable Week and Maxiflex Tours) (Appendix E) willbe completed by the employee and the reason for the modification notated in the Remarks area. For an employee on a Compressed tour, a request for a modification willbe approved by the supervisor and the modification entered into WebTADS (i.e., change to the Regular Day Off (RDO) or 8-hour day).

3.5.4 Modifications will be approved by the supervisor and communicated to the employee in advance of the pay period. Unanticipated or emergency situations that arise may be approved by supervisors after the pay period has begun, but should be kept to a minimum.

3.6 Employee Reconsideration

3.6.1 An employee whose request for a work schedule change has been denied, adjusted, or revoked may submit a request for reconsideration to his/her first-line supervisor.

3.6.2 A reconsideration request should be initiated orally or in writing no later than 15 calendar days after the employee has been made aware of the change to his/her work schedule. When reconsideration is requested, the employee shall be provided the opportunity to present information supporting the request and receives a decision within a reasonable period of time (i.e., 15 calendar days). A reconsideration request at this stage substitutes for the informal procedure as outline in NPR 3771.1, Grievance System.

3.6.3 The first-line supervisor will consult with a Human Resources Specialist within the HQ HRMD on applicable work schedule options prior to making a final decision on the reconsideration request.

3.6.4 If the employee is dissatisfied with the reconsideration decision, he/she may submit a formal grievance in accordance with NPR 3771.1, Grievance System, or any local labor-management negotiated agreement, if appropriate.

3.7 Reporting Hours of Work

3.7.1 Employees shall account for their time through the use of WebTADS. Time off during an employee's basic work requirement will be charged to the appropriate leave category. The minimum charge for leave is one- quarter hour and additional charges are in multiples thereof.

3.7.2 Employees shall ensure their time is entered correctly in WebTADS and immediately report any discrepancies to his/her supervisor.

3.7.3 Discrepancies in original time and leave reported should be corrected by requesting a prior pay period adjustment in WebTADS not more than 3 pay periods after the discrepancy occurs.

3.7.4 Prior pay period adjustments that are greater than 3 pay periods old, and approved by the supervisor to warrant additional review due to exceptional circumstances, shouldbe electronically transmitted to the Executive Director, HQ Operations, and the Director, HQ HRMD, for approval.

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