University Policies
Policy Contact
University Human Resources Email 401-863-3175

Alternative Work Assignments Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date
POL 08.10.05

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to standardize staff Alternative Work Assignments (AWAs) to promote workplace flexibility and greater work-life balance, enhance job performance, and provide best-in-class services to meet Brown’s needs.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to all non-faculty employees in graded and ungraded staff positions, as well as all staff and faculty who approve AWAs, except where the AWAs are governed by collective bargaining agreements or in employee contracts. Bargaining unit staff should consult their collective bargaining agreement to review any flexibility provisions. If there is a conflict between the language in one of Brown’s union contracts and this AWA Policy, the union contract language shall prevail.

3.0 Policy Statement

An AWA is an agreement between the University and an employee in a staff position which includes modifications to work locations (e.g., employee’s residence), work schedules or other assignments that could differ from traditional University operating standards and practices. AWAs:

  • must be in the University’s best interest and adhere to all laws;
  • can vary by school/department/unit; and
  • may not be suitable or available for every job type.

An AWA does not alter an employee’s employment relationship with the University or the obligation to observe all University rules, policies, and procedures. All existing terms and conditions of employment, such as job description, salary, benefits, vacation, leave and overtime, remain the same.

The employee’s manager and/or senior officer retains the discretion to decide the AWA type(s) available to staff based upon the manager-assigned Position Work Location (PWL) designated in Workday and unit operational needs. As determined and approved by the employee’s manager, AWAs may allow staff to work:

  • full-time at an approved Alternative Worksite Location;
  • a portion of time at an Alternative Worksite Location; or
  • a Flexible Work Schedule (e.g., adjusted arrival and departure times, Compressed Workweeks).

AWAs must be documented in an AWA Agreement. Staff must:

  • complete an AWA Agreement request in Workday;
  • request any subsequent AWA Agreement changes in Workday; and
  • receive an approved AWA Agreement prior to starting an AWA.

AWA Agreements are approved or denied by the employee’s manager and the unit’s HR Business Partner in Workday. When necessary, manager AWA approval delegation changes can be made at the discretion of the senior officer of the unit/division by contacting Workday Programs. AWA decisions may be appealed to the employee’s next level supervisor.

Employees will be required to complete a new AWA Agreement in Workday for the following reasons:

  • PWL changes;
  • to request a significant change in work schedule that will last beyond a duration of 60 days;
  • promotions or position transfers to another unit;
  • to request a different hybrid AWA type;
  • to request or change a Flexible Work Schedule; and
  • when an employee is approved to work remotely, and/or work at an Alternative Worksite Location outside the State of Rhode Island, and/or relocates back to the State of Rhode Island.

AWAs may be subject to periodic review by the employee’s manager and/or HR Business Partner. When operational needs require modification or cancellation of an AWA Agreement, written notice of at least 10 business days will be provided to the employee with an onsite or hybrid PWL, and written notice of at least 90 business days will be provided to an employee with a remote PWL.

Additional guidance and details on how to complete an AWA in Workday are in the AWA Job Aid.

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:

Alternative Work Assignment (AWA) Agreement:

An agreement in Workday that details the specifics of an employee’s AWA, such as Alternative Worksite Location, in which the employee has attested that they will maintain University standards.

Alternative Worksite Location:

A formally designated non-University location where an employee performs some or all of their job responsibilities. An Alternative Worksite Location must be from a state where Brown is registered to do business, as determined by the University. Alternative Worksite Locations cannot be outside the United States due to significant variation in labor laws, benefits availability, tax consequences, and other considerations.

Compressed Workweek:

An arrangement where a traditional 37.5-hour, five-day workweek is lessened to fewer than five days of work.

Flexible Work Schedule:

An alternative schedule that allows an employee to work outside traditional hours based on employee needs within set parameters approved by their manager. Under a flex schedule, an employee might be required to work a standard number of core hours within a specified period, allowing the employee greater flexibility in starting and ending times. Examples include: adjusted arrival and departure times and Compressed Workweeks.


The employee’s assigned manager in Workday.

Position Work Location (PWL):

Indicates the location where the position’s work will be performed. PWLs are determined by the manager, in consultation with UHR, taking into consideration numerous factors, including specific job duties, the nature of the work performed, operation and business requirements, and impact on the department, and are not subject to review or appeal by the employee. The three types of PWLs are as follows:

  • On-site: Job duties cannot be performed remotely and are required to be performed on-site at all times during the year.
  • Hybrid: Job duties can be performed for part of the regular workweek or month, on a regular basis, from an Alternative Worksite Location. As a minimum threshold, an employee must work on average 20% of their work time onsite (on average 1 on-site workday a week or 4 on-site workdays a month), throughout the course of the year.
  • Remote: All job duties can be performed remotely at an Alternative Worksite Location (e.g., employee’s residence) without disruption to business operations. The position may be required to work on-site in exceptional circumstances for a limited duration, such as for new hire orientation, on-site employee meetings/retreats, and/or critical/emergency situations based upon unit operational needs.

A position may be assigned more than one PWL (i.e., hybrid and remote) based upon position responsibilities and operational needs of the unit, but an employee can only have one AWA based upon their PWL designation(s).

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.

In addition to responsibilities already assigned in this policy, the following offices/employees will accomplish additional actions.

HR Business Partner: Review and serve as the final approver of AWA Agreements in Workday.

Manager: Make PWL decisions for their staff positions, and review and approve AWA Agreements.

Senior Officer: Retain leadership authority and discretion to determine the PWL(s) and AWA type(s) available to staff within a unit/division, based upon position responsibilities and/or unit operational needs.

UHR: Review and approve remote PWLs. Determine AWA criteria, standards, and required procedures.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable disciplinary procedures.

7.0 Related Information

This policy is not a legal document. This policy does not confer a term of employment, nor is the language intended to establish a contract of employment, express or implied, between any employee and Brown University. The University reserves the right to change, amend or terminate any of its policies and supporting documents at any time for any reason.

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with university leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws, and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedures:

  • AWA Job Aid

7.3 Related Forms: N/A

7.4 Frequently Asked Questions: N/A

7.5 Other Related Information: N/A

Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President for Human Resources

Policy Approved by: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Contact Information:

University Human Resources Email 401-863-3175

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

Previous policy versions superseded by this policy:

  • Alternative Work Assignments Policy, Effective Date: April 5, 2022
  • Alternative Work Assignments Policy, Effective Date: June 14, 2021
  • Alternative Work Assignments Policy, Effective Date: June 4, 2021
  • Alternative Work Assignments Policy, Effective Date: April 23, 2020, Last Reviewed: May 8, 2020
  • Alternative Work Arrangements (20.053), Revision Date: January 30, 2019