About this directive

Reference to Applicable legislation (Act or regulation): Part 3, Sections 14-16, Public Service Employment Regulation;

Organizations under the Public Service Act Supplement I of the Master Agreement
Application: All bargaining unit employees and Opted Out and Excluded employees appointed or employed pursuant to the Public Service Act, with the exception of wage employees.

Note: The decision regarding management participation in alternative hours of work is pending.

Note: employees who are members of the bargaining unit are subject to the terms of the Master and Subsidiary Agreements. Any terms, conditions, or entitlements related to Hours of Work Averaging Arrangements and Flexible Hours Arrangements addressed in the Master and Subsidiary Agreements supersede this Directive.
Last Updated: April 28, 2022
Last Reviewed: January 1, 2018
Amended By: Alberta Public Service Commission: Labour Relations Policy and Programs, Negotiations & Policy

Purpose

The intent of this directive is to allow employees flexibility in the hours that they work and to provide direction in the application of the programs for alternative hours of work, which are Hours of Work Averaging Arrangements (HWAAs) and Flexible Hours Arrangements (FHAs). This includes how leaves, Christmas closure, and paid holidays are handled in the context of HWAAs and FHAs.

Overview

This directive outlines the terms and conditions for HWAAs and FHAs for salaried employees who are members of the bargaining unit, opted-out and excluded.

Bargaining unit employees are also covered by the Collective Agreement.

Definitions

If there are any discrepancies in how the terms are defined below and how they are defined in the Public Service Act and Public Service Employment Regulation, the Act and Regulation supersede.

  • Averaging period means the number of weeks in the HWAA work schedule.
  • Earned day off means a day off that has been earned by working additional hours, which accumulate over an averaging period.
  • Month means a calendar month.
  • Normal work hours means the number of work hours per day as assigned by classification and job code (that is, 7.25 hours, 7.75 hours or 8 hours per day).
  • Overtime Agreement means per Employment Standards Code, a mutual overtime agreement where, instead of paying overtime pay, an employer gives paid time off with regular pay.
  • Work day means any day on which employees are expected to be at their place of employment.
  • Group HWAA means one agreement (Letter of Understanding) that applies to a group of employees.

Principles in implementing an arrangement

A deputy head may agree to an HWAA or a FHA if:

  • normal work hours specified in the Collective Agreement and in Section 13 (PSER) for each employee are not exceeded
  • department offices remain open for their required office hours
  • service to the public is maintained

Approval for either arrangement is subject to operational requirements. An individual arrangement does not carry forward if the employee moves to another position, branch or department. The arrangement ceases at the time of transfer or departure.

An employee cannot participate in both an HWAA and FHA simultaneously.

Employees must be provided with a copy of the Arrangement as soon as possible, and no later than the commencement of the Arrangement. A copy of a group HWAA must be posted where it can be seen by affected employees.

Implementing an HWAA

An HWAA can be entered into between an individual employee and a deputy head or a group of employees and a deputy head.

The most common HWAAs consist of:

  • 4-day work week
  • bi-weekly combination of 4 work days one week and 5 work days the next week (4/5-day work week)
  • a 3-week combination of 4 work days in the first week, 5 work days in the next week, and 5 work days in the following week (4/5/5-day work week)
  • a 4-week combination of 4 work days in the first week, 5 work days in the next week, 5 work days in the following week, and 5 work days in the final week (4/5/5/5-day work week)

A deputy head must obtain authorization from the Public Service Commissioner before entering into an HWAA consisting of a 3-day work week or any other combination than listed above. Employees who work a 3-day week are entitled to three 15-minute rest periods for each day they work. Rest periods cannot be within the first or last hour of a work day.

An HWAA must be in writing and must include:

  • the start and if applicable, a review date
  • the number of weeks over which the hours will be averaged, which must not exceed 52 weeks
  • the work schedule, identifying all the work days and the number of hours to be worked on each of the work days in the averaging period
  • only one work schedule per arrangement
  • scheduled daily and weekly hours of work cannot exceed:
    • 12 hours per day, and
    • 44 hours per week or an average of 44 hours per week
  • the manner in which overtime pay and time off with pay instead of overtime will be calculated

Group HWAA

Group HWAAs for bargaining unit employees will be completed through a Letter of Understanding (LOU) with AUPE. Opted out and excluded employees should contact their Human Resources Portfolio Team for support entering into a group HWAA. If a group HWAA is in place, any new employees hired into the workplace to which the HWAA applies are deemed to consent and are bound by the HWAA.

Leave entitlements

Employees working according to an HWAA will have benefits and entitlements expressed in terms of daily or weekly entitlements, converted to produce the equivalent hours of benefits and entitlements as they would have had if the work week had not been modified. This will result in no loss or gain in employee benefits and entitlements. For example, the yearly casual illness entitlement of 10 days for classifications with standard hours of 7.25 hours per day is 72.5 hours (10 days X 7.25 hours per day = 72.5 total hours). If an employee is currently working 8.06 hours per day on a 4/5 day HWAA schedule, they will utilize 8.06 hours for each day of casual illness and therefore will have access to 9 days (9 days X 8.06 hours per day = 72.5 total hours).

Employees will utilize their entitlements according to their daily scheduled hours in order to maintain their regularly scheduled earned day off.

Leave provisions in the Master and Subsidiary agreements will apply to bargaining unit employees. Leave provisions in the leave directives apply to opted out and excluded employees.

Paid holidays

When employees are not required to be at work on a paid holiday or Christmas closure, and that paid holiday falls on their regular HWAA earned day off, they will be paid 7.25 hours (or other normal work hours for the employee's classification) for the paid holiday. The earned day off is moved to the next work day or as agreed by the employee and supervisor.

When a paid holiday is a regular day of work, employees under an HWAA arrangement will be paid 7.25 hours (or other normal daily hours of work for the employee's classification) for the paid holiday. The shortfall of hours between 7.25 hours (or other normal daily hours of work for the employee's classification) and the employee’s agreed upon schedule will need to be made up by the end of the calendar year. This time should be scheduled with supervisor approval or will be recovered using the employee’s earned vacation leave, banked overtime or through a deduction in salary. Other entitlements (such as casual illness or personal days) cannot be used.

The employee and supervisor must ensure the reconciliation is completed:

  • before the end of each calendar year
  • upon cancellation of the HWAA
  • upon resignation from the position
  • upon transfer to a new position

Overtime

Employees working according to a HWAA shall receive overtime if the employee is authorized to work hours in excess of their daily hour requirement of the HWAA or on a day of rest.

Overtime provisions in the Master and Subsidiary agreements will apply to bargaining unit employees. The Overtime Directive applies to opted out and excluded employees.

Implementing an FHA

An employee may enter into a FHA in accordance with provisions of Overtime Agreements in the Employment Standards (Section 23). A FHA allows an employee to work more than their normal work hours in a day and bank the extra time to be taken as time off with pay at a later date.

An employee participating in a FHA will be allowed to bank up to a maximum of fifteen (15) hours per month carry over and regular bi-weekly salary shall be paid for these hours. An employee may not accumulate more than fifteen (15) hours total nor shall they be in a deficit of hours at any time. Hours shall not be banked unless the employee has actually worked more than the employee’s normal work hours.

A FHA is required any time an employee requests to work flexible time. A FHA can only be between an individual employee and a deputy head and initiated at the employee’s request.

A FHA must be in writing and must include:

  • the start and if applicable, a review date
  • daily overtime threshold (which cannot exceed 12 hours)
  • weekly number of hours cannot exceed 44 or an average of 44 hours in a week

The employee will remain on a standard schedule in 1GX, but may choose to identify in the written arrangement when they will work additional hours or may request to work additional hours on a week-to-week basis (may vary from week-to-week).

Leave entitlements

Employees working according to a FHA will utilize their entitlements according to their normal work hours per their classification. Use of leave entitlements (such as casual illness or personal days) does not include time banked, as the employee has to work more than their normal scheduled hours.

Leave provisions in the Master and Subsidiary Agreements will apply to bargaining unit employees. Leave provisions in the leave directives apply to opted out and excluded employees.

Overtime

Employees working according to a FHA shall receive overtime once they have reached the 15 maximum hours banked or if they are asked to work on a day of rest.

Overtime provisions in the Master and Subsidiary agreements will apply to bargaining unit employees. The Overtime Directive applies to opted out and excluded employees.

Cancellation of an arrangement

The deputy head and employee may cancel an individual HWAA or a FHA by providing appropriate notice. The employer may cancel the arrangement by providing 30 days' advance notice. The employee may cancel the arrangement by providing advance notice of 5 days.

An individual employee cannot exit a group HWAA. Cancellation of group HWAAs is done by majority consent of the affected group and must follow the cancellation clauses in the applicable LOU or signed HWAA.

Occupational Health and Safety considerations

When employees perform hazardous work or are responsible for the care or custody of people, the deputy head will obtain an evaluation of the working conditions that considers the longer hours from Wellness Health and Safety, Public Service Commission before agreeing to an arrangement.

Considerations for approval of an arrangement may include building security, work alone requirements, length and frequency of the shifts, and how and when employees are arriving and departing work for their general safety. For more in-depth consultation, please talk to your Workplace Health and Safety Consultant.

Additional resources

Hours of Work Averaging Arrangement Form

Flexible Hours Arrangement Form

Employee Flex-Time Report

HWAA Holiday Reconciliation tool

HWAA and FHA Fact Sheet (PDF, 339 KB)

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