alternate work options

Guidelines & Resources

The University of Alabama in Huntsville is committed to ensuring a sustainable and productive workforce in fulfillment of our academic and research missions. Alternative work arrangements may be utilized as a recruitment and retention tool, and to support the work-life balance of faculty and staff, when such arrangements align with business objectives. The University offers two alternative work options: telecommuting and flexible work schedules, which may be approved under certain circumstances. In its ongoing commitment to providing excellent service to students, the community, and other stakeholders, the University will periodically assess, and as necessary, adjust its approach to alternative work options.


Scope of Guidelines

Alternative Work Options are available to faculty, staff, and graduate assistants when such are conducive to their work responsibilities. It is noted that faculty typically operate with a measure of flexibility in the scheduling of work hours, and it is not necessary for faculty to apply for a flexible work schedule to engage in the typical flexible hours that may occur in between one’s teaching schedule, office hours, grading, and research. However, faculty who wish to routinely telecommute and designate their home office as a primary work location should utilize these guidelines. Furthermore, all employees who wish to work from a remote location, outside of the state of Alabama, must receive special permission to do so. Additional information is found in the Telecommuting section below.


Telecommuting

Employees may request to work from home (or an approved remote location). Telecommuting will typically be approved on the basis of a hybrid work schedule, and on rare occasions, may be approved for 100% remote work. Telecommuting arrangements are approved for a maximum duration of 1-year, requiring annual review for renewal.  Some positions are more conducive to telecommuting than others and additional information may be found in the Eligibility for Alternative Work Options section below.

Telecommuting Outside Alabama

Telecommuting typically applies to UAH employees who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, who wish to telecommute from their primary residence in the state of Alabama. To ensure compliance with state and federal laws, special review and approval is necessary prior to granting telecommuting privileges to an individual if:

  1. The individual wishes to telecommute from another U.S. state or territory, outside of the state of Alabama; and/or
  2. The employee/applicant is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. 

UAH employees may not telecommute from locations outside of the United States, regardless of U.S. or foreign citizenship.

External Employment

Employees may not perform in-person or remote employment with an external employer while working remotely for UAH. UAH employment is considered primary, and therefore, all outside employment must be approved by the appropriate supervisor and cannot occur within the same timeframe in which UAH compensation occurs (i.e. double-employment). If an employee is found to be working for an external employer while simultaneously working for UAH, this may be grounds for immediate termination. 


Flexible Work Schedules

Employees may request to work a flexible work schedule which includes beginning the work day earlier or later than 8:15 am. In such cases:

  • Each participating employee must work the core business hours of 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (for those that work day shift); and
  • The business unit must remain fully operational between 8:15 am and 5:00 pm each day.

Employees may also request a reduction in their appointment effort (hours worked per week), as long as the request does not present a burden to business operations or customer service. When such requests are granted, compensation is reduced to reflect the reduction in work hours, and there may be an impact to employee benefits. For more information on benefit eligibility, refer to https://www.uah.edu/hr/benefits/eligibility.

Requests to work a compressed workweek (such as working full-time in four 10-hour days) will generally not be approved.


Eligibility for Alternative Work Options

UAH faculty and staff contribute to the University’s academic and research missions in various ways. Therefore, the various positions at UAH have differing work-life advantages. Alternative work options are more conducive to certain types of roles and may not be implemented when there is a potential negative impact to business operations or service delivery. Each alternative work option request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Eligibility by Position

The following positions are typically not conducive to telecommuting:

  • Customer reception positions requiring in-person service to internal and/or external customers
  • Student-facing positions (with the exception of limited online class instruction)
  • Service/maintenance and trades positions
  • Public safety positions
  • Other – any position requiring a high degree of in-person customer service, confidentiality, or contract fulfillment that cannot be managed in a remote environment

While the roles listed above are not generally conducive to telecommuting, they may offer other work-life perks that employees value such as:

  • Flexibility in the scheduling of work hours
  • Greater independence in work responsibilities
  • Ability to work from multiple locations on campus and/or travel professionally
  • Separation from the demands of work when not on campus (defined off-hours) 

Eligibility by Person

In addition to review of the job itself, there are number of additional factors that may determine eligibility for an alternative work option, including, but not limited to:

  • Employee job performance and attendance, including remaining in good standing (no disciplinary action) for a period of at least one year
  • Ability to support, coach, and monitor performance
  • Appropriateness of the remote work location, which should be a professional and safe environment, in which the employee may be productive
  • Availability of staffing and coverage within the unit
  • Sufficient resources to conduct business
  • Ability to protect and maintain University resources and confidential information
  • Ability to report to campus, as required, for meetings and assignments 

The provision of an alternative work option is a privilege and not a right of any UAH employee, and may be denied or terminated, at any point, at the University’s discretion. Alternative work options should always support a level of employee and business unit performance equal or superior to that of a traditional onsite arrangement. Alternative work options are not intended as a substitute for childcare or dependent care.

Alternative work options related to personal or family illness should be discussed with Human Resources and may be more appropriately addressed through the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or a Workplace Accommodation review.


Approval Process For Alternative Work Options 

An employee may participate in an alternative work option provided that:

  • The business unit is eligible to offer alternative work options;
  • The employee has received approval to utilize an alternative work option and has not had any disciplinary action within the previous 12 months; and
  • The participating employee and supervisor have taken required training on Best Practices for Alternative Work Options

Step 1:
Business Unit Eligibility

To implement alternative work options, each participating college/center/ department must receive pre-approval of an Alternative Work Options Business Plan from the appropriate Vice President. 

NOTE:  The Business Plan form below is to be completed by each Unit Head Only.

Step 2:
Supervisor and Employee Training

Participating supervisors and employees should take the Best Practices for Alternative Work Options training program as part of the approval process. This 30-minute training is online and self-paced. At the end of the training, you will be asked to certify your completion for tracking purposes.   

Step 3:
Employee Request

Once the business unit has been approved to participate, the Dean/Director/ Department Head may review employee requests for alternative work options. Employees who wish to request an alternative work option should utilize the following forms:

Telecommuting Request

Review UAH Telecommuting Guidelines, then complete a Telecommuting Agreement and submit it to the appropriate supervisor to initiate the approval process.

Flexible Work Schedule Request

Complete the Flexible Work Schedule Request Form and submit it to the appropriate supervisor to initiate the approval process. 

Note: Departments who have an approved Alternative Work Options Business Plan may also create and post positions which include an alternative work option upon hire. A candidate’s ability to work successfully within an alternative work option should be assessed during the hiring process. At time of hire, a Telecommuting Agreement must be signed and should be reviewed on at least an annual basis.

 

Resources

Reading Materials

The following are articles that employees and supervisors may find helpful in learning more about alternative work options. 

Contact HR!

For more information, contact the Office of Human Resources at 256.824.6545 or hrrecords@uah.edu.