Alternative Work Schedule


Alternative Work Schedules (AWS) refer to a variety of schedule options that provide an alternative to the standard 8:30am to 5:00pm workweek. AWS is available to NIH employees with supervisory approval. Adjustable work hours can assist employees in balancing the demands of the workplace with their personal responsibilities and as well as help alleviate commuting frustrations. AWS encompasses Flexible Work Schedules (FWS) and Compressed Work Schedules (CWS).

Compressed Work Schedules

For a full-time employee, an 80-hour bi-weekly basic work requirement that is scheduled for less than 10 workdays. Employees on a CWS work longer days and as a result have several Regular Days Off each pay period. These schedules are fixed and include 5/4/9, 4/10, and 3/13 work schedules.

Flexible Work Schedules

For a full-time employee, an 80-hour bi-weekly basic work requirement that allows an employee some flexibility to determine his or her own tour of duty, within the parameters and under the requirements set by the IC. These schedules include Flexitour, Gliding, and Maxiflex. With supervisory approval, employees on a Flexible Work Schedule may elect to earn and use credit hours. Credit hours are those hours that an employee elects to work in excess of their basic work requirement so as to vary the length of a workweek or workday.

Additional Information

  • Implementation of AWS is a matter of management and supervisory discretion.
  • Participation in AWS is an employment benefit, not an entitlement. 
  • The Tour of Duty of each employee on AWS must be documented and provided in writing to employee’s timekeeper.
  • NIH’s standard operating hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Flexible hours may be established at IC discretion, provided they occur between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
    • An IC’s Maxiflex Work Schedule parameters may allow work outside of the 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. time frame.
    • If an employee elects work before 6:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m., then they are not eligible for night differential/pay.
  • Generally official core times for FWS are 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • If an employee must work on a scheduled Regular Day Off under a CWS:
    • overtime or compensatory time is permitted; or
    • employee may be required to temporarily change day off; or
    • employee may request to change the day off for another day.
  • ICs may decide that certain days are not available as Regular Days Off under CWS (e.g., staff meetings on Tuesdays, no one may be off on Tuesdays).


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