Policies,Administrative,UW Health Administrative,Human Resources

Flexing Staff to Volume (Low Census) Policy (9.86)

Flexing Staff to Volume (Low Census) Policy (9.86) - Policies, Administrative, UW Health Administrative, Human Resources


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Administrative (Non-Clinical) Policy
This administrative policy applies to the operations and staff of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and
Clinics Authority (UWHCA) as integrated effective July 1, 2015, including the legacy operations and
staff of University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and University of Wisconsin Medical
Foundation (UWMF).

Policy Title: Flexing Staff to Work Volumes
Policy Number: 9.86
Effective Date: November 12, 2017
Chapter: Human Resources
Version: Original


To provide general guidelines for periodic, temporary or short-term adjustments to staff work assignments
to respond to decreased work volumes.


This policy establishes a process to be used in situations where non-exempt employees may be reassigned
or required to take time off, with or without pay, when patient volume or department workload indicates a
need for an adjustment in staffing.

Decisions to adjust staffing will be made in a manner that ensures the appropriate number of staff, with
the appropriate skills and abilities, are available to meet the needs of patients and department work


When adjustments in staffing are warranted, a manager or designee may reassign an employee, send an
employee home early, or cancel a previously assigned work shift of an employee to ensure appropriate
utilization of staff.

When reassignment is possible:
A. An employee will generally move to an assignment on the same shift and within the same
department/management structure. In some cases, however, the reassignment may cross over to
other departments/management structures.
B. In reassignment situations, management will make decisions ensuring that employees have the
appropriate skills and abilities to meet patient care needs and complete work tasks successfully.
Managers will ensure that reassigned employees receive an appropriate orientation to the work
area as appropriate.
C. When it’s determined a reassignment is necessary, the affected employee is required to accept the

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If no re-assignment is possible, the manager or designee will adjust staffing by flexing down, either by
sending staff home early or by cancelling a previously assigned shift, in the following order whenever
A. Agency staff & Travelers as contracts allow.
B. Temporary staff.
C. Regular staff who are scheduled to work overtime or who have already worked overtime hours in
the same work week or are scheduled to work premium pay shifts
D. Regular staff - voluntary, on a rotational basis.
E. Regular staff - involuntary, on a rotational basis.

When cancelling a previously assigned work shift, every effort should be made to contact an employee
prior to reporting to duty. If an attempt to contact an employee is not done within a minimum of 1 hour
prior to the start of their shift or they are sent home immediately upon arriving to work, they will be
compensated for 2 hours of work.

Employees may use paid leave hours (earned vacation/compensatory time/PTO time or holiday) to
maintain wages when going home early or not working a previously assigned shift or employees may
choose to take this time unpaid. In either case, these hours, paid or unpaid, shall be classified as ‘flexed
down’ and will be eligible for accrual of vacation (UWHC) and paid time off (UWMF). Holiday
guidelines state that employees must be in pay status on either the last scheduled work day immediately
before or the first scheduled work day immediately after the legal holiday occurs, however if an employee
uses flexed down payroll codes to be in unpaid status the shift before or after a holiday they will still be
eligible for holiday pay. However, retirement (UWHC and UWMF) will be reduced and sick leave
(UWHC) benefits will not accrue if in unpaid status.
During seasonal times of the year when employee requests for time off are unusually high and at times
when allowing employees to use unpaid leave will cause carryover of benefit time into the new year, such
as around the winter holidays, departments may first offer employees with remaining benefit time off
before allowing the use of time unpaid. Provisions for this exception must be detailed in departmental
flex to volume guidelines and reviewed with Human Resources.

Where adjustments to staffing of regular staff occur, managers will ensure that they are made on a
rotational basis, whether voluntary or involuntary, to ensure that reductions are shared as equally as

Where these situations occur, managers will maintain a list of staff who are reassigned, go home early or
whose previously assigned shift is cancelled, documenting the date of each occurrence and amount of
benefit hours used or time taken unpaid.

Operational areas and Human Resources will periodically review departmental documentation of
adjustments to staffing to ensure a fair and equitable process.


This Policy creates no rights, contractual or otherwise. Statements of policy obtained herein are not made
for the purpose of inducing any person to become or remain an employee of UW Health, and should not
be considered "promises" or as granting "property" rights. UW Health may add to, subtract from and/or
modify this Policy at any time. Nothing contained in this Policy impairs the right of a non-represented
employee or UW Health to terminate the employment relationship at-will. For represented employees,
who are not at-will employees, this policy does not supersede, limit nor grant any rights beyond those
provided by the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

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Sr. Management Sponsor: Chief Human Resource Officer
Author: VP, Human Resource Operations

Approval Committee: UW Health Administrative Policy & Procedure Committee


Elizabeth Bolt
UW Health Chief Administrative Officer