Alternative Work Schedule

On April 22, 2024, HHS released the updated Instruction 990-1 Workplace Flexibilities Policy. NIH OHR's Workplace Flexibilities websites and resources are in the process of being updated due to recent policy changes. We appreciate your patience as we update our resources and release communications related to policy implementation.


Alternative Work Schedules (AWS) refer to a variety of schedule options that provide an alternative to the standard workweek. 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 Compressed Work Schedules (CWS) and Flexible Work Schedules (FWS).

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.

Key points

  • To utilize an AWS, an employee must take the HHS Workplace Flexibilities Training
  • The employee must also submit an HHS Workplace Flexibilities Agreement (WFA)
  • Once approved, the timekeeper should update the tour of duty in the Integrative Time and Attendance System 
  • 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
  • General 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
    • the employee may be required to temporarily change their day off; or
    • the 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