Flexible Work Arrangements for University Employees


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Flexible Work Arrangements for University Employees



The University recognizes the importance of providing flexibility for employees to balance work responsibilities with personal obligations and commitments. This policy outlines the regulations regarding flexible work arrangements (FWAs). Departments are encouraged to be open to allowing for FWAs with the understanding that this flexibility must still ensure appropriate employee accountability and be compatible with the operational needs of the work unit.

This policy sets out the three (3) types of FWAs: flexible work hours, flexible work schedules, and flexible work locations (teleworking), and describes the expectations and obligations associated with each one. Flexible work hours and work schedules can be instituted as recurring or regular work options; flexible work location requests made by individual employees are limited to thirty (30) calendar days or fewer under this policy. Teleworking arrangements longer than thirty (30) calendar days will be driven by a unit-wide assessment and plan made by the unit’s Dean or Vice Chancellor and approved by the Chancellor or designee, rather than by individual request.

Scope of Applicability

This policy applies to all employee types, including: SHRA, EHRA Non-Faculty, Faculty, part-time, and temporary employees.


The University allows for FWAs in certain circumstances to meet departmental needs and provide flexibility to employees, subject to the conditions and requirements set forth in this policy and in the Procedures for Flexible Work Arrangements for University Employees (“Procedures”). This policy does not create a guarantee, right, or entitlement to a FWA by any employee or group of employees. Any FWA is at the discretion of management and may be revised or revoked at any time.

I. Three (3) Types of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs):

A. Flexible Work Hours

Upon request and subject to the requirements outlined in this policy and in the Procedures, managers may approve a temporary change in an employee’s regular work schedule to adjust for a specific event. This change may include modifying regular work start and end times or allowing work missed on one day to be made up on another. Any adjustments made to the employee’s schedule must fall within the same work week (UNC Chapel Hill’s established work week is 12:00 am Monday through 11:59 pm Sunday). For example, an employee may not leave early for an appointment on a Friday and make up the hours the following Tuesday.

This flexibility helps an employee avoid taking leave or other paid time off that would otherwise have to be accounted for in a given week. Managers have the discretion to grant these temporary changes in work hours if the operational needs of the department are satisfied, and to discontinue such arrangements when deemed necessary.

B. Flexible Work Schedules

Upon request and subject to the requirements outlined in this policy and in the Procedures, managers may approve flexible work schedules, which are recurring or regular adjustments to the employee’s schedule. Such revised schedules must align with operational needs of the position and the unit and allow for appropriate oversight of employee work assignments. Managers must ensure that they can provide adequate supervision for work that is performed outside of the unit’s standard work schedule.

If a flexible work schedule involves a recurring change to an employee’s number of work hours per week (Full-Time Equivalency, also known as FTE), then managers must consult with their local HR Officer about any required system actions or impacts to benefits eligibility. Information and resources for these circumstances can be found in the Classification and Compensation policies.

C. Flexible Work Locations (Teleworking)

Managers have the discretion to approve a request for a short-term (30 calendar days or less in duration) flexible work location if the manager determines that the operational needs of the department can be met and that they will be able to provide appropriate supervision of the employee’s work, in addition to considering all other factors and requirements outlined in this policy and in Procedures.

Teleworking arrangements that will exceed 30 calendar days in duration will be driven by a unit-wide assessment and plan made by the Dean or Vice Chancellor and approved by the Chancellor or designee, rather than by individual request, except in specific limited circumstances, such as an approved ADA accommodation.

Requests for employees with a proposed alternative work location that is outside of North Carolina or the United States have additional approval requirements, as outlined in the Procedures, regardless of the duration of the teleworking arrangement.

All teleworking requests are subject to the requirements set forth in this policy and in the Procedures as well as the following conditions:

1. Duty Station

The employee’s designated on-site University work site is considered their duty station. Employees approved for teleworking are expected to be able to report to their on-site duty station within a reasonable period of time when directed due to operational needs and/or due to changes to or revocation of their teleworking arrangement. Therefore, employees should maintain a place of residence within a reasonable commuting distance of their on-site work location. Exceptions to this requirement may be made in limited circumstances based on operational needs. These may include but are not limited to:

  • recruitment of those with unique or scarce skills;
  • arrangements for faculty who teach exclusively in distance education programs; or
  • arrival or departure of employees for a transitional period of relocation.

All such exceptions must have the written approval of the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance or designee.

2. Legal and Tax Implications

Employees working remotely outside of North Carolina may be subject to the laws and regulations of other states or countries with respect to the employee/employer relationship. This includes states/territories that may have different overtime laws, workers’ compensation, and other laws that govern employment. The University is required to ensure good faith compliance with such laws and regulations when granting approval for remote work arrangements outside of North Carolina.

In addition, employees are expected to cooperate with the University’s compliance programs for tax withholding. However, employees are individually responsible for the payment of employee income taxes and for addressing and resolving any questions about their ability to take tax deductions related to remote work arrangements. Such matters are not a responsibility of the University. All employees working outside of North Carolina are required to have their departments complete the UNC Payroll Services' "Notice of Employee Working Outside of North Carolina" form.

3. Travel

Employees working remotely may not charge mileage for travel between their off-site work location and their on-site duty stations. For overtime-eligible employees, certain activities, such as travel to and from required meetings that occur during the workday, are included as hours worked for purposes of overtime calculation. The University’s Travel Time and Travel Time Off Policy (Single Day Travel) directs that an employee’s work time recording will include any travel/commuting time to campus or other alternate work location that occurs during the employee’s regularly scheduled workday when the work locations differ from the employee’s assigned off-site location for that day. Preferably, single-day travel implications can be minimized or avoided by making every attempt to schedule an employee’s work such that they do not have to change locations during the workday.

4. Workers' Compensation

Teleworking employees are covered by workers’ compensation for job-related injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment. When the remote worksite is in the employee’s home, however, workers’ compensation does not cover injuries that are not job-related.

5. University Property and Compliance

Appropriate steps must be taken to ensure that all University property used off-site as part of a telework arrangement is used in compliance with all University policies governing personal use, including complying with all software and technology licensing agreements. Teleworking arrangement agreements must include an inventory of state property authorized for use from the employee’s remote work location. Work performed under a teleworking arrangement remains subject to all applicable laws, policies, and regulations, as if it were performed on-site. These provisions include, but are not limited to, prohibitions on discrimination and workplace harassment, records retention obligations, and the North Carolina Public Records Act.

II. All Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) Are Subject to the Following:

A. Manager Discretion

Managers have discretion to determine whether allowing for FWAs is compatible with the unit’s business needs. The University expects managers to assess the functions and duties of the unit as a whole and exercise sound judgments that account for individual employee needs, business necessity of the department, and equity for similarly situated individuals within the unit. As outlined in this policy and the Procedures, some FWAs require additional approvals.

Not every position within the University is compatible for a FWA, and not every proposed arrangement will be approved. In determining whether to approve FWAs, managers must consider the following factors:

  • whether the employee’s work and responsibilities are conducive to a FWA without causing disruption to performance and/or service delivery;
  • employee productivity;
  • employee conduct;
  • task interdependence;
  • operational constraints; and
  • applicable state and federal laws (if any).

Employees with an FWA must be able to perform their duties free of external obligations and unreasonable interruptions.

B. Non-Discriminatory

The availability and terms of FWAs must be administered equitably based on applicable factors and without regard to an employee’s age, color, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status, and must be mindful of overall equity for similarly situated individuals within the unit.

C. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliant

This policy is available to all eligible employees, including employees with disabilities. Employees with disabilities whose needs would be met through a FWA may first make a request through this policy and are not required to disclose their disability in that process. If a FWA that is sufficient for the employee’s needs cannot be provided, the employee may then pursue an accommodation through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) process by contacting the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC). Employees with disabilities may also choose to begin their request for flexibility by seeking an accommodation through the EOC. With or without FWAs, the University must meet the requirements of the ADA.

D. Performance

Performance is a key consideration when seeking approval for or continuing a FWA. Any arrangement may be provided on a conditional or trial basis. For a FWA to be considered and maintained, the employee is expected to meet all performance expectations and conduct requirements of their current role and consistently demonstrate the ability to complete tasks and assignments on a timely basis.

E. Annual Review

All recurring FWAs should be reviewed annually by the manager and employee.

F. Subject to Revocation

Managers may revise or revoke FWAs at any time. Managers should provide as much reasonable notice as possible in the event of a revision or revocation of a FWA to permit the employee to make alternative arrangements. A minimum notice of ten (10) business days is required to change or revoke a FWA, unless employee conduct or safety issues necessitate otherwise at the discretion of management.

G. Security

The security, confidentiality, and integrity of University records and information must be protected at all times and all employees must follow all University policies relevant to privacy and ITS security. To this end, employees with FWAs must consult with their unit’s IT Support Specialist to ensure adequate protection and storage of sensitive information/data, the security of networks and devices being used, and compliance with all University ITS Policies.

H. Documentation

All regular and recurring FWAs must be documented in accordance with this policy and associated Procedures.

III. Faculty

The University recognizes that it is an accepted practice for teaching and research faculty to carry out their work with varied schedules on campus and at alternate locations and it is up to each school’s Dean to set expectations for such work for their faculty. This policy does not intend to limit the ability of faculty to work in‐person and/or remotely in the course of their normal duties. However, FWAs for duties that are generally expected to be conducted on‐site (e.g., teaching an in‐person class or conducting lab research, artistic instruction or production, faculty advising), are subject to the same review and approval processes as outlined in this policy and in the Procedures.

IV. Existing Flexible Work Arrangements

All FWAs that were in place and/or approved prior to the adoption of this policy are subject to the requirements and approval processes set forth in this policy and associated Procedures.

V. Definitions

Flexible work hours: a temporary or one-time change in an employee’s regular work schedule to adjust for a specific event.

Flexible work location (teleworking): an adjustment to an employee’s customary worksite, either on a short-term or recurring basis, to respond to the specific needs of an employee and/or the operational needs of the department, such as remote work from home or a designated satellite location.

Flexible work schedule: recurring or regular flexibility or adjustments in the scheduling of work hours, such as alternative work schedules (e.g. alternative work hours, flex time and compressed workweeks) and arrangements regarding shift and break schedules.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contacts

Noreen Montgomery
Title: Senior Director of Employment and Staffing
Unit: Employment and Staffing
Email: noreen_montgomery@unc.edu
Phone: (919) 843-9883

Adam Beck
Title: Senior Director of Classification and Compensation
Unit: Classification and Compensation
Email: adam_beck@unc.edu
Phone: (919) 843-8258

Linc Butler
Title: Interim Assistant Provost for Academic Personnel
Unit: Academic Personnel Office
Email: linc_butler@unc.edu
Phone: (919) 962-8377

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Article ID: 131752
Thu 4/8/21 9:16 PM
Thu 7/29/21 12:30 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Office of Human Resources
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Associate Vice Chancellor
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
06/30/2022 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
07/01/2021 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/01/2021 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
07/01/2021 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
01/06/2017 12:00 AM

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The University recognizes the importance of providing flexibility for employees to balance work responsibilities with personal obligations and commitments. Departments are encouraged to be open to allow for flexible work arrangements with the understanding that this flexibility must still ensure appropriate employee accountability and be compatible with the operational needs of the work unit.