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March 10, 2009


One of the things our company offers to keep employees happy is a flexible work schedule. Some work 4 x 10 and some 3 x 12. With all of the legal changes these days it looks like these schedules will not be as easy to work out.

Also with the ergonomics laws reaching OSHA's authority into home offices, that may erase some of our options to keep our employees happy.

What's an HR Manager to do? I must recruit and retain, but sometimes it is difficult to understand how to do that and keep the courts happy.



Although Government regulations sometimes make people management more complicated and difficult, you are wise to pay attention to what is happening on the regulatory front. While you certainly must comply with existing regulations to prevent employment practices liability, you probably do not need to worry too much about those that are only in proposal form, because of the length of time it usually takes to get them passed (and the fact that they frequently they don't pass, at least not in their original form).

In many cases, you may be better off taking a chance at maintaining or implementing flexible alternatives that will prove to be extremely beneficial to your employees. Ask your employees what would be most critical to them and focus on those. Although it may not be easy to do, employees will generally respond favorably to an employer's attempts to effectively meet their needs. Surveys frequently indicate that concern for employees' needs and well being and the ability to balance work/personal life are among the major reasons individuals seek and/or maintain employment with a particular company. Another plus is that flexible programs do not usually cost much to implement and have shown to enhance employee productivity as well as recruiting, loyalty and retention.

If ultimately you have to change policies/programs due to changing Government regulations, at least you have a legitimate reason. But, waiting for something that may never happen is usually not perceived by employees as a legitimate reason for failing to implement something they strongly desire (especially if they have specifically identified these needs to their employer in the past). With productivity, recruiting, loyalty, and retention at risk by inaction, the choice may become more clear.

To get information about various flexible alternatives, check out various Human Resource related websites (try the HR message board to get feedback). A good one for best practices, trends, and legal information is the Society for Human Resource Management (


Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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