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Policy 5219

Hours of Operation

I. Purpose

As an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Longwood University is committed to providing convenient service to all citizens of the Commonwealth. The institution's normal business hours and employee schedules shall reflect that commitment to service. While some flexibility in scheduling exists in terms of flex-time and telecommuting, the overriding consideration in setting schedules shall be the efficient business operations of the University.

II. Policy

  1. Hours of Operation: The institution's basic hours of operation for offices shall be 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. These hours are set, in part, because of the need to ensure offices are staffed during the Commonwealth of Virginia's "public service hours," which are identified as 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Obviously, as a residential campus operating twelve (12) months out of the year, maintenance, environmental, information systems, communications and public safety departments are staffed on a shift basis. Housing and student support positions, especially those that are residential in nature, are staffed in accordance with student needs.
  2. Lunch Periods and Rest Breaks:
    1. Lunch Breaks: Employees who work at least six (6) consecutive hours daily shall be entitled to a lunch period. Lunch periods in multiple person areas should be staggered so that office or service areas can remain open.
      1. Administrative Employees: The standard administrative employee lunch period is forty-five (45) minutes in length. This break from work period is unpaid and there is no requirement to stay on campus. Employees are encouraged to take lunch periods and get away from their desks.
      2. Maintenance Employees: Maintenance employees normally work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with one (1) hour for lunch. This lunch period is unpaid and employees are not required to stay on campus.
      3. Public Safety Officers: Police officers observe a paid lunch period, since they are generally expected to respond to calls as necessary, even over their lunch periods.
    2. Rest Breaks: Employees working an eight (8) hour work day take a maximum fifteen (15) minute rest break before and after lunch period. These breaks are discretionary and considered part of each employee's hours of work, whether taken or not.
    3. Impermissible Use of Lunch Periods and Rest Breaks: The intent of these breaks is that they should be taken at times scheduled, and not to be used to compensate for arriving at work late or to leave work early.
    4. Visitors at Work: Visitors, including family, may normally visit employees over lunch or during rest breaks if necessary. The regular and extended presence of minor children in work areas is neither safe nor tolerable for the department or the child and should be avoided. If employees are experiencing childcare problems they should make the department aware of the circumstances and solicit the assistance of the Human Resources Office for assistance and referral.
    5. Phone Coverage: Offices are generally not considered staff if the office's main phone is being transferred to another department or if the phone is being answered by a non-departmental employee or volunteer. For events or activities requiring the attendance of all staff, the Human Resources (HR) Office, in consultation with the President or the Chief Administration and Finance Officer, shall normally provide guidance on how to handle phone coverage.
  3. Alternative Work Schedules:
    1. Summer Schedules: Some departments may work alternative schedules during the summer months to aid in the efficiency of their work. For instance, the Facilities Management department typically works a modified schedule over the summer to take advantage of cooler, more tolerable temperatures earlier in the day. 
    2. Alternative Schedules: From time to time the institution might find it desirable to regularly schedule an employee to come in earlier or later than 8:15 a.m. to better service the needs of a particular department. The guiding rule shall be the efficient operation of the institution and not to meet the employee's purely personal needs.
      1. Requirements: Alternative work schedules are intended to be enduring and not changeable on a regular basis and must be undertaken with the best interests of the institution in mind.
        1. Not to be confused with: Alternative work schedules should not be confused with the following circumstances: Exempt employees have the prerogative as a matter of course to adjust their work weeks to meet departmental needs and avoid excessive hours; and non-exempt employee supervisors have the latitude to make work week adjustments to non-exempt employee schedules to minimize the need for overtime.
    3. Approval and Documentation Process:
      1. Approval Required: Summer schedules must be approved by the area's vice president, in consideration with the President.
      2. Documentation: A written copy of the schedule change must be received by the HR and Payroll offices at the time the change takes effect. It should include the new hours of work, when they became effective and for how long. The writing should also be signed and approved by the area vice president.
  4. Telecommuting: Telecommuting is essentially working at home. Understanding the increasingly flexible information technology environment in which many Commonwealth employees now work, the state has established a policy granting a means by which telecommuting requests may be evaluated and documented. It is Department of Human Resource Management Policy 1.61. The institution retains total discretion to designate or not designate employees for telecommuting.
    1. Internal Controls: Prior to establishing a telecommuting relationship with an employee, the department must establish adequate internal policies and procedures relating to the telecommuting relationship, such as how hours of work will be documented, how supervision will be achieved, etc.
      1.  Approval: Telecommuting alternatives must be approved by the area vice president in consultation with the department director.
    2. Written Agreement: A written telecommuting agreement must also be entered into between the department and the employee, outlining any changes in terms and conditions of employment affected by the telecommute, as well as associated rights and responsibilities, equipment and phone considerations.
      1. Forms: Telecommuting Agreement forms are available from the HR Office.
      2. Termination of the Agreement: The Telecommuting agreement may be terminated by the institution at any time, but with two (2) weeks advance notice under normal circumstances.
    3. VOSH/OSHA Requirements: Alternative work locations, even private homes, fall under the regulation of certain VOSH/OSHA regulations relating to a safe working environment. Departments seeking to engage employees in telecommuting relationships should seek the advice of the institution's Environmental Health and Safety Officer regarding these issues.

Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors, September 7, 2002.