1. : The Flexitour and other Alternate Work Schedule Plans are designed to provide advantages to both the Employer and the employees. The objectives of the Flexitour Plan and other Alternate Work Schedules (AWS), are to:
a. Provide the public with expanded hours of service;
b. Increase the hours for communication across time zones;
c. Increase productivity;
d. Help reduce short‑term employee absences and tardiness;
e. Improve employee morale by permitting employees to adjust their work hours to meet the needs of their personal lives;
f. Improve recruiting and retention;
g. Decrease traffic congestion and facilitate the use of alternative forms of transportation and thereby improve air quality;
h. Reduce commuting time (by removing trips from peak hours); and
i. Increase child care and ridesharing options.
Responsibility for the success of Flexitour and other Alternate Work Schedule Plans must be shared equally by the Employer and the employees. Participation in one of these plans is voluntary and no employee may force another employee to join the plan. After selection of a Flexitour or other Alternate Work Schedule, no employee should suffer a personal hardship as a result of the assignment of a subsequent Flexitour or other Alternate Work Schedule to another employee. Any employee who would suffer a hardship as the result of the program may remain on a fixed schedule with a regular tour of duty. Probationary, temporary, and part time employees may participate only with the approval of their immediate supervisors.
Flexitour and other Alternate Work Schedule Plans shall continue within Passport Services. The Employer may not terminate Flexitour and other Alternate Work Schedules without providing the Union notice and opportunity to negotiate. However, during emergencies, including workload crises, the Employer may suspend an AWS for one pay period during any calendar year after providing notice to the Union and the employees. If Management then proposes to extend the suspension of an AWS for more than one pay period, it must notify the Union and provide an opportunity to negotiate as appropriate over the issue prior to the extension. Flexitour and other Alternate Work Schedule Plans may vary based on the requirements of each Passport Agency.
Where the provisions of this Article describe procedures for Union/Management Councils to develop Flexitour and Alternate Work Schedules, it is understood that Management or the Union may also make proposals relating to tours and Alternate Work Schedules and establish policies through traditional Union-Management bargaining methods. Each office will work out a local agreement through its Union/Management Council including the availability of each plan and the distribution of available slots among interested employees.
a. Each employee who wishes to participate in a Flexitour or other Alternate Work Schedule Plan must submit a written request to the Regional or Office Director through his/her immediate supervisor. The Regional or Office Director will make a reasonable effort to approve the Flexitour or other Alternate Work Schedule requested by each employee. When the Regional or Office Director determines that a Flexitour or other Alternate Work Schedule impacts, or would impact, adversely on Employer costs, productivity, efficiency and/or service to the public, the Regional or Office Director will propose an alternative plan, if practicable, after considering the views of the employees affected. If a temporary modification in an employee's schedule is required by an emergency situation, the modification will be rescinded as soon as possible following the end of that emergency situation.
b. An employee must arrange in advance his/her Flexitour or other Alternate Work Schedule for a period of time determined by each regional Union/Management Council, normally not less than of one quarter of the calendar year.