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I'm trying to research quality of life issues that pertain to contractor employee work schedules.

Specifically, I'm trying to find any information that discusses Government agencies allowing (or not) contractor employees the option of working flexible/compressed work schedules like many Government employees are able to do.

I'm recently retired military now working as a contractor supporting a Defense agency in the NCR. When I was hired by my company, I asked about the flexible work schedules and was told, "no problem, just work it out with the customer." My agency organization doesn't allow contractors to work the flexible schedules and the only explanation they gave was "just because."

I can't see any impact on mission and contractors do work these type of schedules in other agency organizations. I suspect the leadership in my organization is just resistent to change, "they've always done it this way, so ...." But that doesn't sit well with me. If there was a resonable explanation then I'd probably see things differently.

I'm looking for any factual information that might help be address the issue again. Thanks!

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Specifically, I'm trying to find any information that discusses Government agencies allowing (or not) contractor employees the option of working flexible/compressed work schedules like many Government employees are able to do.

My agency organization doesn't allow contractors to work the flexible schedules and the only explanation they gave was "just because."

I can't see any impact on mission and contractors do work these type of schedules in other agency organizations. I suspect the leadership in my organization is just resistent to change, "they've always done it this way, so ...." But that doesn't sit well with me. If there was a resonable explanation then I'd probably see things differently.

Wow!

they've always done it this way, so ...." But that doesn't sit well with me.

You are an employee of a company that has a contract with the government to perform some job. You follow the rules of your employer and not the government, which is the client you support. Just because government employees have flexible/compressed work schedules, that doesn't mean contractors have the same. In fact, most agencies want contractors to maintain a set core schedule so they have better coverage when their employees are off.

I don't mean to sound so blunt but contractors aren't treated like government employees and don't have the same rights. The agency is paying your company to have work performed. If you don't like the groundrules, change jobs. When I worked at the government and a contractor didn't hear or like rules such as they must work a core schedule, I would be talking with the contractor management right away.

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I'm sorry, nygiants20, but I doubt you're going to find anything that's going to be of much help. I can't think of anything in my experience that would require an agency to grant contractor employees some type of compressed work schedule. Unless your organization can work it out with the client organization, I'm afraid that "just because" is going to be your answer.

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Guest Vern Edwards

Let's try something just a little more nuanced than "just because."

Generally, a government contract should not specify the hours during which particular contractor employees must work, unless it is a personal services contract. Service contracts usually specify the hours during which the contractor must provide service and the location(s) where the service must be provided, without regard to which particular employee is doing the work. The contractor in turn tells its employees when they must work and may allow them to work flexible schedules as long as it meets its contractual obligations for service coverage.

Which is it in your case? Does the contract specify service coverage during certain hours, without regard to which employees do the work, or does it require that particular persons work certain hours?

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Let's try something just a little more nuanced than "just because."

Generally, a government contract should not specify the hours during which particular contractor employees must work, unless it is a personal services contract. Service contracts usually specify the hours during which the contractor must provide service and the location(s) where the service must be provided, without regard to which particular employee is doing the work. The contractor in turn tells its employees when they must work and may allow them to work flexible schedules as long as it meets its contractual obligations for service coverage.

Which is it in your case? Does the contract specify service coverage during certain hours, without regard to which employees do the work, or does it require that particular persons work certain hours?

I am on a T&M contract to provide contracting support. There is nothing specified as to what is required other than support. The only mention of hours is a reference about being available during "normal" business hours. The contract calls for two FTEs to provide support and there currently are two contractors providing the support.

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In fact, most agencies want contractors to maintain a set core schedule so they have better coverage when their employees are off.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't coverage of a Government Office an inherently governmental function? If so, should contractor employees be used to cover the office when government employees are off?

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Guest Vern Edwards

I don't want to get into the inherently governmental function thing. That's another topic entirely.

The government probably wants contract support coverage during certain hours, so it can know when support will be available. In and of itself, that should not preclude flexible work hours as long as the contractor has people on hand to provide it.

For example, what if the government wants support available from, say, 08:30 until 17:30? In theory, that period could be covered by two people, so that one could come in early and the other could stay later. But the contractor might find it easier to make one employee work the entire shift. That would not be the government's fault. It has every right to buy support to be delivered when it wants it. It should not and does not have to tailor its needs because a contractor employee wants to come in at 06:30 and leave at 15:30.

Make sense?

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I am on a T&M contract to provide contracting support. There is nothing specified as to what is required other than support. The only mention of hours is a reference about being available during "normal" business hours. The contract calls for two FTEs to provide support and there currently are two contractors providing the support.

If the contract calls for just two FTE, I assume the contractor employees are just staff augmentation and the rest of the office is government employees (or perhaps some other contractors).

I also assume the government employees all have the option of compressed/flexible work schedules. The problem at many agencies is the majority of employees want to come in early and thus leave early and the staff is largely on their way home at 4:00. However program offices expect support and assistance at 5:30. So one way around this is have contractor support and don't allow them compressed/flexible work schedules.

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If the contract calls for just two FTE, I assume the contractor employees are just staff augmentation and the rest of the office is government employees (or perhaps some other contractors).

I also assume the government employees all have the option of compressed/flexible work schedules. The problem at many agencies is the majority of employees want to come in early and thus leave early and the staff is largely on their way home at 4:00. However program offices expect support and assistance at 5:30. So one way around this is have contractor support and don't allow them compressed/flexible work schedules.

You are correct on your staffing assumptions. The type of work schedule I'm interested in is the 9/80 or compressed schedule, where you have one day off every pay period. There are five government employees, three of them work a 9/80 schedule, all three are off different days. Of the two contractors, I'm the only one who wants to work a similar 9/80 schedule.

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You need to open a dialog with your customer. Since you're only an employee you probably don't have authority from your company to ask the Government for what you want, and it doesn't sound from your description that the people you work with have the authority to grant it. Ask your boss at your company. If that person is willing to help you, you're on the right track. I wouldn't recommend picking a fight with the people you're working with over it. Trying to find something to cram down their throats is going to be the wrong approach.

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You need to open a dialog with your customer. Since you're only an employee you probably don't have authority from your company to ask the Government for what you want, and it doesn't sound from your description that the people you work with have the authority to grant it. Ask your boss at your company. If that person is willing to help you, you're on the right track. I wouldn't recommend picking a fight with the people you're working with over it. Trying to find something to cram down their throats is going to be the wrong approach.

One clarification, the people I support do have the authority to grant this, they just don't want to and I do have full support of my company. I do agree with your last statement, I'm not looking to pick a fight over this. In my opinion, I signed on to be a "team" member and I'm fully supportive of the team. I'm just asking for what I believe is a "reasonable" accomodation that is made available to other team members (gov't). So far, I know of no reason why it can't be allowed other than the customer doesn't want to allow it.

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Guest Vern Edwards

The customer? Oh, heck, I thought it was somebody who matters.

The longer you go on, the less sympathy I have for you. Believe me, your posts are being handed around all over the place to show why the government shouldn't be using contractors. You might become the poster boy for all who think that there is too much contracting out going on. (One of the justifications for using contractors is to get around the government's personnel rules.)

Keep up the good work.

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So far, I know of no reason why it can't be allowed other than the customer doesn't want to allow it.

You don't get it. It's probably because the "customer" wants you there 5 days a week for 8 hours a day. The "customer" is paying you for that.

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You don't get it. It's probably because the "customer" wants you there 5 days a week for 8 hours a day. The "customer" is paying you for that.

More accurately, the Government is paying the Contractor for coverage 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. The Government doesn't care if the Contractor utilizes 1, 2 or a humpteen dozen employees to provide that coverage, as long as the work is getting done. At least that is the theory. In practice, I still run into Government organizations and Government personnel that want to treat contractor employees like their very own, and who probably would grant NYGiants20 his or her wish in a heartbeat. But we are working diligently to eradicate such ways of thinking.

Bottom line, NYGiants20, your beef is with the company you work for, not the Government.

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The customer? Oh, heck, I thought it was somebody who matters.

The longer you go on, the less sympathy I have for you. Believe me, your posts are being handed around all over the place to show why the government shouldn't be using contractors. You might become the poster boy for all who think that there is too much contracting out going on. (One of the justifications for using contractors is to get around the government's personnel rules.)

Keep up the good work.

I'm a little surprised, but maybe I shouldn't be, at the lack of professionalism of the Government work force. I guess those who post on this forum are no different.

I came on here looking for professional insights not personal attacks. To those who tried to have a helpful dialogue, I appreciate your efforts. To the few others, perhaps you should do the taxpayers a favor and find a different career!

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B)B)

I'm a little surprised, but maybe I shouldn't be, at the lack of professionalism of the Government work force. I guess those who post on this forum are no different.

I came on here looking for professional insights not personal attacks. To those who tried to have a helpful dialogue, I appreciate your efforts. To the few others, perhaps you should do the taxpayers a favor and find a different career!

Some or many posters on WIFCON are current or former Gov't contractors. The fact that they display little sympathy for your circumstance does not indicate a lack of knowledge of procurement law or regulation, or of your specific circumstance. Nor does it indicate a lack of professionalism.

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nygaints20 -- Have you read the terms of the contract? (that your employer has with the customer)

It is not about government employees being rude.

What are the terms of the contract? It isn't about you and your wishes, your employer signed a contract; as an employee you have to live with those terms. Suggestions (to you) may have been made, that maybe some of terms can be flexible (is that in the contract?).

As stated, look to your employer. Those are the conditions you have to deal with.

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Guest carl r culham

Interesting thread. I do not disagree with all the comments that direct ny to the contract and his/her employer regarding the matter. Based on the facts it does bring up questions for me related to Service Contract Act, FLSA and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Act and a flexible work schedule. Consideration that in fact may have a bearing on both the contractor and Government.

We have been told the contract is T/M. Beyond this we know little but I suspect the contract is therefore subject to SCA, FLSA and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Act which in general terms, folded into one, require payment of overtime for any work in excess of 40 hours. One could argue that exemptions apply regarding professional, administrative and clerical positions however this exemption seems inconsistent with a T/M type contract where I am guessing that payment is made to the contractor and therefore their employee on an hourly rate basis.

So does SCA, FLSA and CWHSA allow a flexible work schedule where a contracted workforce where the Acts are applicable work in excess of 40 hours a week without being paid overtime?

How about if there is a collective bargaining agreement in effect for the contractor that does provide that the contractor's employees must be allowed a flexible work schedule, would the Government's position be any different?

So in the end it all does lead back to what the contract requires I am just pointing out that reaching any conclusion on the matter by either party to the contract does not hinge solely on the work requirements (SOW/PWS) of the contract but potential FAR clauses of the contract as well. So to the suggestion made by those that have stated "read the contract" I would suggest that means read the ENTIRE contract.

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Interesting thread. I do not disagree with all the comments that direct ny to the contract and his/her employer regarding the matter. Based on the facts it does bring up questions for me related to Service Contract Act, FLSA and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Act and a flexible work schedule. Consideration that in fact may have a bearing on both the contractor and Government.

We have been told the contract is T/M. Beyond this we know little but I suspect the contract is therefore subject to SCA, FLSA and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Act which in general terms, folded into one, require payment of overtime for any work in excess of 40 hours. One could argue that exemptions apply regarding professional, administrative and clerical positions however this exemption seems inconsistent with a T/M type contract where I am guessing that payment is made to the contractor and therefore their employee on an hourly rate basis.

So does SCA, FLSA and CWHSA allow a flexible work schedule where a contracted workforce where the Acts are applicable work in excess of 40 hours a week without being paid overtime?

How about if there is a collective bargaining agreement in effect for the contractor that does provide that the contractor's employees must be allowed a flexible work schedule, would the Government's position be any different?

So in the end it all does lead back to what the contract requires I am just pointing out that reaching any conclusion on the matter by either party to the contract does not hinge solely on the work requirements (SOW/PWS) of the contract but potential FAR clauses of the contract as well. So to the suggestion made by those that have stated "read the contract" I would suggest that means read the ENTIRE contract.

I don't think any of this changes the Government's "position" with respect to NYGiant's problem. From the Government's perspective, the contractor should comply with the SCA (assuming it is applicable), including compliance with the provisions of a CBA (if there is one), comply with FLSA and any other labor laws, deal with its employees' concerns about hours and schedules, and provide the services required by the contract. The Government has no business getting involved in the scheduling of individual contractor employees. FLSA may limit the contractor's ability to allow its non-exempt employees flex schedules. For that matter, the manner in which the Government's requirement is described may limit the contractor's ability to allow any or all of its employees to participate in flex schedules.

A more interesting question, perhaps, is whether or not the Government should accommodate a contractor desiring to allow its employees to go flex, if accommodation entails changing or redescribing the Government's service requirement such that a flex schedule could be implemented. I'm sure that there are instances where the Government's interests would not be impacted by an accommodation (i.e., the Government can get want it needs anyway at no additional cost) and in those circumstances, why not accommodate? However, any such accommodation should be the subject of a contract modification.

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  • 2 weeks later...

.

I must be one bitter, old unprofessional curmudgeon.

NY Giants 20 retired from the Air Force, I'm guessing, where she or he did the work of an 1102.

And yet they do not seem to understand the distinctions between a Government employee and a contractor employee. How did they ever get hired by CACI, I'm guessing, or Stanley, for a job to perform "Contracting support ?"

Also, there are only two employees of that contractor providing support in that specific office.

NYG 20 wants the flex schedule; the only other employee DOES NOT.

Where does coverage come from on NYG 20's flex day off, so that the Customer has consistent support ? Does the Employer/ Contractor hire a 3rd employee ? Is the 2nd employee forced to go flex against their will ?

.

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  • 1 month later...

I have actually dealt with contracts like this at DOD but it was for IT support. I didn't care if the employee flexed their schedule as long as the period of time during the day was covered by the number of employees requested. SO if I had a contract for three helpdesk employees and 2 systems administrators from 8-430. Then I expect 5 employees there from 8-430. There is a reason why I need 5 employees. Now however the contractor wants to handle that is his business. If he can pull someone once a week from their position elsewhere to cover it, fine. I need the five employees there to cover the workload. Helpdesk is very busy as are the SAs. I can't pull my employees (govt employees) from their jobs to provide coverage to the contractor.

What ended up happening is one of the SAs worked a flex schedule and someone else came in for that employee on the day he was off. The other SA kept a regular schedule. This isn't any different than scheduled vacations etc. Someone still has to come in for that person so I can have coverage. If the contractor has to hire another employee or pull one off of another job, that is his business.

The lines between contractor employees and govt employees often become blurred. I remember that contractor employees didn't understand why they had to come in on Martin Luther King day and their govt employees did not. They get ten holidays per year according to the SCA and wage determinations. What ten holidays their employer gives is their business. Or when the Commander says you can go home 59 minutes early or gives some other administrative leave, they want to go to. They can't unless their employer pays for it.

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I agree with the contract requirements and the supporting regulations and compliance points that have been presented.

What I find interesting is that typically I've seen contractors afforded the flexible schedules, coffee breaks, and even the '59 minute' early dismisals that the Govt personnel enjoy.

Could you seek employment with a different support contractor/contract where the restrictions currently imposed are not?

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