Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs)

Columbia’s Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) Policy is currently under review. Please consult with your HR Senior Business Partner about proposing or approving a FWA.

Columbia University allows flexible work arrangements (FWAs) subject to meeting the needs and operational goals of the department and with the approval of the department manager. 

All Columbia University Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff should review and understand this policy. All local HR Administrators, Academic Department Administrators, and Managers should review and understand this policy, as well as refer to the timekeeping and attendance guidelines on the HR Manager Toolkit.

Columbia University recognizes the growing demands on staff who have both professional and personal responsibilities, as well as the increasing challenge of finding new and better ways to manage people, time, space, and workload effectively. Flexible work arrangements are a critical resource for maintaining job satisfaction and quality of life among Columbia University staff.

Flexible work arrangements may promote productivity, enhance job satisfaction, enable recruitment and retention of valuable staff, and reduce greenhouse emissions consistent with the University’s environmental goals.The University offers flexible work arrangements as a way to meet the needs of its staff, and strengthens the University’s position as an employer of choice.

Columbia University supports flexible work arrangements including Telecommuting, Flextime, and the Nine, Ten, and Eleven Month Employment programs so that staff may better manage their personal and professional  lives.

A flexible work arrangement is any variation in scheduling work hours and/or location from the traditional on-campus daily pattern. The categories of available arrangements are: 

  • Flextime
  • Telecommuting 
  • Nine, Ten, and Eleven Month Employment  

All formal flexible work arrangements must be approved by the department in advance and must allow the department to meet the business needs and operational goals.  

Academic departments should check with their respective Dean’s Office to ensure that they are following their school’s processes for granting flexible work arrangements.  

Departments decide whether to allow an individual to participate in a flexible work arrangement on a case by case basis. The University also makes decisions to implement flexible work arrangements based on whether the arrangement allows the department to meet its business needs and operational goals. Final approval and arrangements for situations covered by this policy are at the department’s discretion. Managers should file approved proposal forms and any backup documentation for all flexible work arrangements in the applicable personnel files and also ensure that staff members keeps copies.

Columbia University has established guidelines for initiating flexible work arrangements, Detailed descriptions of the various options available, and clear guidelines for managing and implementing such arrangements.These supplemental materials provide concrete expectations of responsibilities and accountability, and help supervisors and staff consider potential ramifications of a proposed new arrangement. The flexible work arrangement policy and the associated guidelines pertain to formal FWAs which occur on an on-going basis. Short-term and/or non-recurring FWAs are permitted by this policy as well. Such arrangements do not require that the formal process be followed, but need to be approved in advance by the department manager. Short-term arrangements may include adjusting a work schedule for a determined period of time (i.e. a day, a week, etc.)

All FWAs must be reviewed and reapproved annually, with the first review on a date established when the initial arrangement is made. FWAs may be revoked if business conditions change or job performance is negatively affected.

Complete information and supplemental materials for FWAs can be found on the HR website/Flexible Work Arrangements and the Office of Work Life website