Workplace Flexibility: Compressed Work Week


The following guidelines are presented to assist in developing compressed workweek arrangements that are equitable, clearly understood, and to the mutual benefit of the unit/department and employee.  Employees are expected to follow these principles in proposing compressed workweek arrangements.  Supervisors/department heads are expected to follow these principles in approving compressed workweek arrangements.

Definition and Purpose

The most common types of compressed workweek are:

  • 4/10 schedule (four 10-hour days per week).
  • 9/80 schedule (80 hours in a two week period worked over nine days instead of ten).

Compressed workweek is intended to create flexible conditions that help employees integrate their work and personal lives more effectively and better manage issues such as commuting, caregiving, continuing education, and community service.  Successful compressed workweek arrangements serve the needs both of individual employees and their work unit/departments.  The focus of the arrangement is on job performance and meeting operational needs.  A written agreement clarifying both parties’ expectations is required.  See Workplace Flexibility Agreement: Flextime/Compressed Workweek

Request and Approval

The employee initiates a request for a compressed workweek by submitting a proposal to her/his supervisor/department head.  See Checklist for Developing a Workplace Flexibility Agreement.

Supervisors/department heads have the authority to approve compressed workweek arrangements.

Compressed workweek arrangements shall be initiated on a trial basis, and may be discontinued at any time at the request of either the employee or supervisor/department head.  The unit/department reserves the right to suspend immediately the arrangement in case of unanticipated circumstances regarding employee performance or operational needs.

If the employee and supervisor/department head agree to a compressed workweek arrangement, they shall complete a written agreement. See Workplace Flexibility Agreement: Flextime/Compressed Workweek.  Agreements shall be time-specific with a date for review and reconsideration.  Modifications and/or renewals also shall be documented appropriately.  The original shall be maintained in the employee’s personnel file, with copies to the employee and supervisor/department head.


The University recognizes many valid reasons why an employee may request a compressed workweek, such as professional development, community service, family responsibilities, individual work styles, health, and well-being.  Supervisors/department heads are encouraged to give serious consideration to all requests, but shall give the highest priority to the effective functioning of the unit/department.  Operational needs, staffing patterns, space considerations, and health and safety issues may preclude granting a request for a compressed workweek.

The employee must be willing and able to alternate her/his scheduled day off as requested by the supervisor/department head to meet operational needs. There may be times when s/he will be required to work or travel on a regularly scheduled day off. 

In the event that more employees request compressed workweek arrangements than a unit/department can reasonably manage, the supervisor/department head shall respond to requests that are consistent with these guidelines in ways that are equitable to all employees and in the best interest of the University. Among the measures that might be adopted are rotating turns between employees, staggering schedules, and blacking out certain days.  For other considerations see Checklist for Developing a Workplace Flexibility Agreement.

Nature of Work

  • A compressed workweek for the employee should not negatively affect the workload or productivity of coworkers either by shifting burdens or creating delays and additional steps in the work flow.  The supervisor/department head should ensure that other employees in the same unit/department understand how and why Workplace Flexibility functions.

Eligibility of Employee

  • Compressed workweek is not appropriate for all positions, or in all settings, or for all employees.
  • Compressed workweek during the probationary period is not advisable because of the need to clarify job responsibilities, establish relationships with co-workers and clients, and assess suitability for continued employment.
  • Employees who have problems with punctuality, attendance, and/or performance, or who require close supervision, are not good candidates.


  • Unique to the compressed workweek arrangement is the handling of holidays.  One modification is to revert back to the standard 5/40 schedule during any week in which there is a holiday. How holiday time will be handled shall be agreed upon in advance and documented in the agreement.


The employee and supervisor/department head shall complete a Workplace Flexibility Agreement: Flextime/Compressed Workweek.  Changes in work schedule shall not be altered without prior discussion and a revision to the agreement.  In the case of represented employees, the supervisor/department head shall obtain review and approval of the proposed agreement from an Employee/Labor Relations Specialist to assure compliance with UC/Union Collective Bargaining Agreements and/or Fair Labor Standards Act.

The employee shall work the hours agreed upon and obtain approval from the supervisor/department head in advance of working any overtime. 

The supervisor/department head shall maintain open communication, ensure that the employee’s hours of work do not fall below the normal workweek hours and discuss with the employee any concerns as they arise.