What is flexitime?
Flexitime is a form of employment which refers to the work cycle. The emphasis is on the employee having the freedom to choose their own working hours.
It is not a part-time contract of employment. The employment can be permanent, temporary or a seasonal work contract performed only at certain times of the year.
What are advantages and disadvantages of flexitime?
Advantages for employees
- Better work-life balance
- Extra time or days off
- Consistent pay despite varied working hours
- Allows employee to better reconcile their personal and professional lives; for example, picking up kids from school or sports practice.
Disadvantages for employees
- Temptation to build up lots of credits
- Absenteeism or illness due to overwork
- Unforeseen developments meaning time off cannot be taken when wanted generating frustration.
- Reduced motivation
Advantages for employers
- Cut overtime bills
- Speed up delivery times and response times to clients
- Increase worker motivation
Disadvantages for employers
- Loss of direct supervision of working hours
- More complicated scheduling
- Possible employee resistance
How does it work?
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), most flexitime schemes involve a compulsory "core” working period with a set of optional times built around it.
These core hours (eg 10am to 4pm) are bracketed on either side by periods of “flexible hours (eg 7-10am and 4 -7 pm) when employees can choose which hours to work, as long as the contractually required hours are worked for a specified work period.
Some companies are going a step further with “timebanking” schemes that allow workers to put in extra hours and then get them back at a later date.
These schemes permit workers to build up credits or accumulate deficits in hours worked, up to a maximum (such as 30 -50 hours). Any deficits can be made up in future work periods, while accumulated credits can be exchanged for paid time off.
What legislation or examples exist in Zimbabwe?
There is no legislation governing flexitime in Zimbabwe. However, several examples abound. IT companies and the hospitality sectors have embraced this practice. For example, the hospitality industry is market driven and enjoys greater flexibility to work on different schedules depending on the customers they service.
Is flexitime an established employment practice in Zimbabwe?
The practice is still in the initial stages in Zimbabwe as the country has not fully taken advantage of various tele-working tools (eg internet, Skype) due to the costs and logistics involved.
Find out more about Work Hours.