The Case for Workflex
Workplace flexibility—or Workflex—is a hallmark of the 21st Century Workplace. It is about rethinking how, when and where people do their best work. It reflects a workplace shaped by shifting demographics, emerging technologies and other societal trends. This new workplace can’t thrive with the same old, one-size-fits-all approach.
SHRM believes that the United States must have a 21st Century Workflex policy that works for employers and employees alike, helping them meet work-life and organizational needs. At its core, a 21st Century Workflex policy must facilitate the expansion of paid leave and Workflex options regarding when, where and how work is done. And it must account for different work environments and be accessible by employers of all sizes and in all industries. It must avoid old ways of thinking that hold the workplace back.
The 21st Century Workplace requires solutions like Workflex.
Main Message on Legislation
Workflex For All: SHRM-developed Workflex legislation is a critical component in the effort to create a 21st Century Workplace that is Innovative, Fair and Competitive. Workflex provides more time off for employees, more predictability for employers and more options for everyone.
1) Workflex legislation is INNOVATIVE
- New Approach: The proposal is a new approach to expanding paid leave and workplace flexibility options for employees, reflecting today’s most innovative workplace strategies.
- Voluntary, Opt-in System: The proposal would allow employers to voluntarily offer employees a qualified flexible work arrangement plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that includes a federal standard of paid time off and options for flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or compressed work schedules. This ERISA-covered plan would pre-empt state and local paid leave and Workflex laws.
- Fiscally Responsible: This voluntary approach would counter expensive, one-size-fits-all mandates and expand coverage—without passing costs on to taxpayers or employees.
2) Workflex legislation is FAIR
- Paid Leave Guaranteed to All Employees: Employees of employers who opt in would receive guaranteed paid leave that exceeds all current state mandates, while employees of employers who do not opt in would continue to benefit from state and local paid leave provisions.
- Workflex Guaranteed to All Employees: Employees of employers who opt in would receive guaranteed access to flexible workplace options. Millions of employees will gain access to workplace flexibility for the first time.
- Employers Gain Predictability: Employers who opt in would enjoy improved predictability by being able to follow a federal framework for paid leave and Workflex, as opposed to the complex, conflicting patchwork of state and local laws. At the same time, employers would have the flexibility to offer more paid leave to meet the needs of their employees and the organization.
3) Workflex legislation is COMPETITIVE
- Complements Unpaid Leave: As a complement to the job-protected unpaid leave that the Family and Medical Leave Act already guarantees for covered employees, Workflex provides additional paid time-off options.
- More Flexibility: Workflex would give workers more flexibility while reducing regulatory burdens on employers, encouraging greater work participation and boosting productivity rates—keys to economic growth.
- Reduces Complexity: The proposal would benefit employers and employees alike by providing much-needed certainty over fragmented state and local laws ensuring all employees at the organization receive paid leave and Workflex options—regardless of where the worksite is located.
SHRM supports Workflex because it meets the needs of employers and employees alike – and creates a 21st Century Workplace that is Innovative, Fair and Competitive. Learn more and get involved at SHRM.org.