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Types of Alternative Work Schedules

Family Leave, Flexible Work

Finding work with the right schedule takes more than quick effort. It takes the time to learn all the types of schedules available. Businesses offer several that could improve time plans.

Flexible Work Hours

Not every person wants a constant schedule. New hires can choose a schedule at businesses that offer flexible hours. Typically, the employee can decide the start time within a range and an end time within a range. More flexible arrangements have choices for days, and hours that vary across days.

Short Weeks

Perhaps the simplest arrangement to get used to is the short work week, the same hours in fewer days. A four day work week with 10 hour days is one standard. The fifth day is off. A more demanding 12 hour day for three days leaves 2 days off each week. A moderate option combines four 9 hour days with one 8 hour day, allowing one day off every two weeks.

Part Time

The most common of all options is the part time schedule. Work 15 to 30 hours per week. Often, the employers allow the employees to participate in setting the days and hours, although only the best employees might have the choice. A part time schedule with a short week gives the most time for other life demands such as family care. The key to making these positions employment that can compare to full time is securing benefits.

Two employees can share one full time position. Each person covers some of the position’s duties. The employer can offer pay and seniority based on the share of the hours put in.

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Mixed Plans

An employer might have chosen to take several small measures instead of overhauling the business’ work schedules. These options depend on careful planning of occasional flexible hours, reduced time, days off and sick leave, vacation and family leave. Together, these times off add up to enough personal time in a year.

Shift Options

Shift work can offer an employee some choice in shifts. The position can simply come with a negotiated shift. Or, once hired, the employee can trade shifts with another employee when the need arises.

Voluntary Schedules

The most bold of the arrangements, and the best for employees, is the agreement to let the employee have control over the work schedule. For the contract, the new hire chooses the first schedule. After employment has begun, the employee can reset the schedule for a different life plan. Employees with the most control can change a schedule for weeks or days.


Working from home, or a remote location, can involve choosing the hours and minutes of each day. Connected by computer, display and communications lines a telecommuter can accomplish tasks at desired times and submit the work on schedule.

Any person with enough patience to review all the good options can rid their ordinary life of unwanted time conflicts. Good hours do not have come in trade for good pay. Find the arrangement best for life plans.


WFD Consulting, Workplace Flexibility for Lower Wage Workers (Corporate Voices for Working Families, October 2006)
AFL-CIO Working Women’s Department, Bargaining Fact Sheet: Control Over Work Hours and Alternative Work Schedules (Spring 2001)

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