Q: First, your article on Sunday premium pay answered a number of questions. However, it raises a question that is always cropping up and for which I always receive different answers. When does the regularly scheduled work week begin? Is it always on a Sunday or is it Monday? What if you are scheduled to start work at 0800 hrs on Monday and your supervisor changes your schedule at 0745 hrs on Monday morning? Does that meet the definition of having your scheduled changed before your regularly scheduled work week was to begin? What if he or she did it on Sunday morning or Saturday night? Also, what about a person who works Tuesday through Saturday instead of Monday through Friday, when does their regularly scheduled work week begin? Is it Tuesday morning or is it Sunday?
A: Thanks for the question. Perhaps if we define a couple of terms first, the answer to your question will make a little more sense. First is the administrative workweek, which is defined as any period of 7 consecutive 24 hour periods designated in advance by the head of the agency. In most Federal agencies the administrative workweek has been designated as Sunday through Saturday.
The second is basic workweek that is defined, for a full time employee, as the 40 hour workweek typically established on 5 days of 8 hours each unless one is either on a compressed or on a flexible work schedule. And third is the regularly scheduled administrative workweek that is defined, for a fulltime employee, as the time within an administrative workweek the employee has been scheduled to be at work; this includes the 40 hour basic workweek and any regularly scheduled overtime. See 5 C.F.R. § 610.102 for these definitions.
So to answer your question, the administrative workweek in most Federal agencies begins at 0001 Sunday morning and ends at 2400 Saturday night. I’m not sure if your agency has chosen to do so, but whatever the agency director has determined, the administrative workweek will always begin at the same time for all employees in your agency. And this probably is early Sunday morning. This means that if your supervisor before Sunday morning sets your basic workweek as 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with 1/2 hour for meal break on Monday through Friday with two hours of overtime on Tuesday and Thursday starting at 4:30 p.m., then all that time is regularly scheduled.
However, if on Monday morning the supervisor says, “Oh, by the way, I also need you to work two hours additional on Wednesday and Friday starting at 4:30 p.m.” then that time is not regularly scheduled, but is irregular or occasional overtime because it is added to your regularly scheduled administrative workweek after it began. The actual days of each administrative workweek on which you are scheduled to work, for example, Tuesday through Saturday, do not change the day on which the administrative workweek begins.
Wayne Coleman is a federal pay expert available to help your agency avoid premium pay claims through on-site training. Contact him for more information.