Original Date: 02/28/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Flexible Workforce
Crane Army Ammunition Activity needed a better way to provide a win-win situation for both the Activity and the workers who were hired to maintain a competitive edge within workload peaks and valleys. Crane Army Ammunition Activity adopted a flexible workforce approach, hiring workers, as needed, on an intermittent work schedule. Two types of work schedules were implemented: an intermittent schedule and a full-time work schedule.
Prior to 1987, temporary full-time workers supplemented Crane Army Ammunition Activity’s (CAAA’s) fluctuating workload needs. These employees helped during peak workload periods by performing short-run jobs not requiring trained specialists and filling in behind permanent employees taking vacation or using Holiday leave. The biggest drawback to the method of supplementing CAAA’s workers was the hiring and terminating that occurred because production schedules did not provide steady requirements to maintain temporary workers on a full-time basis.
CAAA needed a better way to provide a win-win situation for both the Activity and the workers who were hired to maintain a competitive edge within workload peaks and valleys. CAAA adopted a flexible workforce approach, hiring workers as need on an intermittent work schedule. Two types of work schedules were implemented: (1) an intermittent (on-call) schedule and (2) a full-time work schedule. On-call employees are contacted to work when workload is available and are sent home when the work is completed. When the workload is determined to continue for several consecutive weeks, a full-time work schedule is initiated. CAAA managers have the discretion to change work schedules as workloads shift. All flexible workers are hired initially on the intermittent work schedule. Flexible workers can be converted to full-time schedules when the workload warrants, or if workload diminishes due to parts shortages or maintenance problems, an action is submitted to the Personnel Office to reverse the work schedule to intermittent.
Flexible workers must meet the same requirements as permanent employees and be fully qualified, meet all physical and medical qualifications, and be respirator qualified. Intermittent work schedule employees are paid for the hours they work, but are not entitled to benefits. Full-time employees are entitled to benefits such as accrued leave, Thrift Savings, and the election of health and retirement benefits.
Once in the flexible workforce, employees enter a pool, being assessed the number of hours equivalent to the employee in the pool with the highest number of hours worked. There are two ways to determine employees’ work schedules: (1) intermittent schedule employees are called in by the lowest number of hours worked, and (2) full-time employees are called in on the basis of their service computation date. Seniority is used to convert intermittent employees to full-time. A reverse procedure is used when the workload is completed. For employees on an intermittent schedule, those with the highest number of hours are sent home first. To ensure that CAAA retains the flexibility to support workload fluctuations, employees who decline work are assessed the number of hours offered. After three such declinations, they are no longer called.
These guidelines have been developed to provide a win-win situation for both CAAA and its flexible workforce. CAAA values its pool of talented, professional, and well-trained workers who provide the balance required to meet workload fluctuations. The generic position description explosives handlers allows all employees to work on either manufacturing or depot storage as work requirements dictate, making them a tremendous asset to CAAA. Their contribution to the Activity comes in the form of cost savings, work schedule flexibility for managers, a readily available pool of 150 people, and surge capability without interruption.
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