Content prepared by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College

Availability of Flexible Work Options in the Public Sector

The federal government has played an important role in approving, piloting, and implementing flexible work options in its many agencies. Some flexible work options are available to employees of the federal government to a greater extent than to employees in the private sector. For example, flexible scheduling, compressed workweeks, and telework are included among the options available to all employees. However, utilization of these options varies among the numerous federal agencies and workplaces. (23)

Some studies have shown that employees of state and local government agencies have greater access to flexible work arrangements than workers in the private sector. For example, according to 2008 National Compensation Survey data, "59% of state and local government workers received paid personal leave (that is, general purpose leave that can be used for any purpose that an employee chooses), compared with 37% of workers in private industry." (14)

The most prevalent flexible work options offered in state agencies included the following: Take an extended leave for care-giving, request changes in starting/quitting times from time to time, choose a schedule that varies from the typical schedule (alternative schedule), take paid/unpaid leave for education or training, transfer to a job with reduced pay and responsibilities, work a com-pressed workweek, and have input into the amount of overtime worked. (11)