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Human Resources and Organizational Management


Human Resources and Organizational Management

Headquarters Marine Corps

Alternative Work Schedule (AWS)
Alternative work schedules (AWS) are work schedules that allow employees to work other than traditional 8-hour days. Use of an AWS program promotes a family friendly workplace by allowing employees to better balance work and family needs. Use of an AWS can also help employees avoid peak rush hour traffic. Organizations benefit by having more employees who are able to maximize their productive time and minimize the effects of outside responsibilities. In some cases, alternative work schedules can enable an organization to better serve customers with longer office hours or who may be in other time zones or have non-traditional schedules themselves.


A flexible schedule splits the workday into two types of time: core time and flexible time bands.

  • Core time is that time during the workday which all employees must be present for work. The typical core time is from 0900 to 1500 each day.
  • Flexible time bands cover the periods of time during the workday which employees may choose arrival and departure times. The typical flexible hours are from 0600 to 0900 for arrival and from 1500 to 1800 for departure.
Commanders and activity heads are authorized to designate different core hours and flexible time bands to meet mission and office coverage requirements.

Flexible work schedules include schedules that are fixed schedules (i.e., schedules in which the employee pre-selects starting and stopping times each day and adheres to those times) and schedules that permit employees to arrive and depart within the flexible time bands established.
In some flexible schedules, there may be a requirement to work 8 hours each day. Other flexible schedules don’t have a daily 8 hour work requirement but have, instead, a weekly work requirement of 40 hours or a bi-weekly requirement of 80 hours. In all cases, however, schedules must cover the established core hours.

The ability to earn “credit hours” is a great feature of many flexible work schedules that allows employees to voluntarily work additional hours that can then be used to take time off in a subsequent pay period. Learn more about credit hours in the FAQs included in the “More Information” section.


A Compressed Work Schedule (CWS) allows an employee to increase the number of hours worked each day so the employee can have one regular day off scheduled each week or each pay period. Compressed work schedules are fixed schedules. Managers may not authorize the use of flexible work schedules in conjunction with CWS. The employee must work the required number of daily hours to correspond with the CWS established for that employee.

The following two forms of CWS are the most common:

Four-day Workweek: Under this schedule, the employee works 10 hours a day, 4 days a week, for a total of 40 hours weekly and 80 hours bi-weekly. The employee has one regular day off (RDO) each week.

5 – 4/9: Under this schedule, the employee works eight 9-hour days, one 8-hour day and has one RDO during each biweekly pay period, for a total of 80 hours each pay period.  

The earning of credit hours is not permitted under a compressed work schedule.


Employees on an AWS will be charged leave equal to the number of hours the employee was scheduled to work. For example, an employee on a CWS who is absent on a 9-hour workday will be charged 9 hours of leave.


Holidays get a little tricky under an AWS.

For employees on a compressed schedule, the employee will be credited for the number of hours the employee was scheduled to work on a holiday. For example, if the holiday falls on an employee’s 8 hour day, the employee will be credited with 8 hours for the holiday; if it falls on a 9 hour day, the employee will be credited with 9 hours for the holiday. When a holiday falls on a regular day off under a CWS, the employee will receive an “in lieu of” holiday.

For an employee on a flexible work schedule, the employee will be credited with 8 hours for the holiday, regardless of the number of hours the employee was scheduled to work.
More Information
Alternative Work Schedules
Types of AWS
There are two types of AWS:

  • Flexible Work Schedules
  • Compressed Work Schedules
Consult with your organization to find out the types of work schedules authorized for use and review labor agreements for provisions that may apply to the AWS program.