How Government Job Workers Can Get Extra Day Off

For some civil servants, every weekend is a long weekend.

While private sector jobs appear to be becoming more precarious due to continued layoffs, alternative work schedules are another benefit to government jobs.

American businesses are complaining about the increasingly outdated 9-to-5 workweek, but government workers are on TikTok sharing their alternative schedules — and they’re racking up views.

What is AWS?

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management uses alternative work schedules (AWS) as a common term for flexible, compressed work schedules.

AWS programs help employees balance work, family and educational opportunities, according to OPM.

A compressed work schedule (CWS) means an employee works less than 10 working days in a two-week pay period. This allows the employee to work more hours each day and get an extra day off.

A flexible work schedule (FWS) consists of core hours and flexible time slots. “Core hours” are the hours employees are required to be present while working. But “flex bands” are the hours during which an employee can start or stop their workday. Under this schedule, workers can take breaks during the day without requesting them in advance.

Under an FWS, an agency can only have core hours of 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with flexible hours of nine to seven. In this case, an employee might work from nine a.m. to two a.m., take a two-hour break, and then work until seven. Alternatively, the employee could start later and work until seven.

Although no jobs are specifically excluded from this model, each government agency decides whether alternative work schedules are appropriate. Individual agencies also decide what parameters are in place, such as core hours.

There are many AWS possibilities; these are some of the most common.

One additional day off every two weeks: 5/4-9 or 9/80

In this schedule, employees work 80 hours spread over nine days instead of 10.

Usually, this means working eight 9-hour days, one 8-hour day, and one day off every two weeks. So, instead of working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the employee can work until 6 p.m. eight days out of nine. They would then work a normal 8-hour day on the ninth day and receive the 10th day off.

A three-day weekend each week: 4-10

In this type of CWS, employees work four 10-hour days and receive a three-day weekend at the end of each week. This might look like an 8am to 6pm job Monday through Thursday every week. For some workers, this gives them the freedom to travel every weekend.

The best of both worlds: maxiflex

In a maxiflex, employees combine flexible and compressed working hours. This works if an agency has one or more days in the week without core hours. Employees can take breaks during the day here in addition to days off during the week.

The OPM website offers a comprehensive glossary and breakdown of AWS terms, policies, and guidelines.


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