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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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An agency may implement for its employees an alternative work schedule (AWS) instead of traditional fixed work schedules (e.g., 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week). Within rules established by the agency, AWS can enable employees to have work schedules that help the employee balance work and family responsibilities.

There are two categories of AWS: flexible work schedules (FWS) and compressed work schedules (CWS).

CWS are fixed work schedules, but they enable full-time employees to complete the basic 80-hour biweekly work requirement in less than 10 workdays.

Employee Coverage

A Federal employee, as defined in section 2105(a) or (c) of title 5, United States Code, who is employed by an agency, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 6121(1), may be covered by a CWS. An employee may request to be excluded for a personal hardship.

Implementation Restrictions

For employees in a bargaining unit: The agency must successfully negotiate a CWS program with the union for a represented group of employees prior to implementation (5 U.S.C. 6130).

For employees not in a bargaining unit: The agency must secure a favorable vote from the majority of employees in the affected group before implementing a CWS program (5 U.S.C. 6127(b)(1)).

Credit Hours

Credit hours are not permitted under a CWS program. (See fact sheet on "Flexible Work Schedules.")


For full-time employees, all hours worked in excess of the established compressed work schedule are overtime hours.

Compensatory Time Off

An employee on a Compressed Work Schedule (CWS) may request compensatory time off only for the performance of irregular or occasional overtime work. Compensatory time off may not be approved for any member of the Senior Executive Service (SES).

Night Pay

The normal premium pay rules apply for night pay. See 5 CFR 550.121 and 122 for General Schedule employees and 5 CFR 532.505 for prevailing rate employees.


On holidays, an employee is normally excused from work and entitled to basic pay for the number of hours of his or her CWS on that day.  In the event the President issues an Executive order granting a "half-day" holiday, full-time CWS employees are normally excused from work during the last half of their "basic work requirement" (i.e., nonovertime hours) on that day.

Holiday Premium Pay

Holiday premium pay (equal to 100 percent of the rate of basic pay) is paid for nonovertime hours of work that fall within the hours regularly scheduled on the holiday.

Sunday Premium Pay

Sunday premium pay is paid for nonovertime work performed by full-time employees. For an employee on a CWS, Sunday premium pay is paid for the entire nonovertime regularly scheduled tour of duty that begins or ends on Sunday. It may not be paid for periods of nonwork, including leave, holidays, and excused absence.