Employers challenged with scheduling modifications due to reasonable accommodation requests under the ADA, intermittent leave requests under the FMLA, and paid sick leave requests in some jurisdictions, but looking to increase their profitability, might want to keep an eye on H.R. 4106, the Working Families Flexibility Act (WFFA).

Introduced in the House of Representatives on February 29, 2012, WFFA gives employees the right to make an annual request to change his or her work schedule (both number of hours and work times), where the employee works, and the amount of notice an employee receives of work assignments. The employee does not need to give the employer any reason to justify the request.

While the bill imposes what appears to be the benign obligation that an employer merely “consider” such requests, the bill includes procedural requirements for that consideration process, akin to the interactive dialogue under the ADA, and penalties for interfering with, restraining or denying the exercise of rights under the law, or discriminating or retaliating against an individual who has exercised rights under the law.

According to the bill, giving employees the right to request changes in their work hours, times and place will improve the employer’s business. One of the bill’s “findings” states that flexible work arrangements “improve the bottom line” for businesses “by helping businesses to attract and retain key talent, increase employee retention and reduce turnover, reduce overtime and absenteeism and enhance employee productivity, effectiveness, and engagement.”  

While flexible work schedules may be practical in some workforces, some employers struggling to manage schedules under FMLA, ADA, and PTO or sick leave policies may see this as adding to that challenge.