2024 FWA FAQs

Phase II - Overview

  1. Q: How is the NEW FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENT PROGRAM different from Phase I? 
  • In the New Flexible Work Arrangement program, there are broader options available to meet diverse needs of Faculties and Units. 

  • Options may include a FLEX or FIXED schedule, according to operational needs, and work-from-home ratios may go up to 60%, in very specific instances: 

  • Employees with 50% or 60% WFH arrangements no longer maintain exclusive use of a workspace and are part of a larger recognized space-saving initiative.  Approval is at a Unit or Faculty-level and supported by a recognized plan.  Some employees with lower WFH ratios may also be involved in a formal space-saving initiative and no longer maintain exclusive use of a workspace. 

  • The tracking of FWAs will now be done in Workday. While FWAs must be entered into Workday, some details will be managed locally.  

  • Greater local decision making within Units and Faculties based on their priorities in accordance with parameters outlined in the new Healthy Hybrid Framework, Guiding Principles and Accountabilities documents. 

  • Employees are asked to consult the Health & Safety form and acknowledge having read it.  However, they are no longer required to submit a completed form. 

  • Many of the underpinnings of the FWA remain the same as in Phase I. It is still highly recommended that the request be submitted by the employee only after careful reflection and discussion with their supervisor, and that the supervisor consider employee suitability, the nature of the work, key stakeholder needs, Department/Faculty/Unit operational needs, space concerns, etc. 


  1. Q: Is this FWA permanent?  
  • This new Flexible Work Arrangement program remains interim.   The University recognizes that needs will continue to evolve in the world of work, and McGill, like other employers, will continue to learn and adapt.  As in the past, the new FWA will be in effect for up to a one-year period at which time it will be reviewed for potential renewal.   The arrangement is subject to modifications should the situation change for unit or the employee.   This could be based on a change in role, operational needs, personal situations, etc.  While the formal review is to occur on an annual basis, it is recommended that check-ins regarding the hybrid experience and effectiveness occur informally throughout the year.    

  • A FWA can be cancelled by either the employee or the supervisor with a 30-day written notice. However, under certain circumstances, supervisors may shorten the notice period timeline.


  1. Q: Why would we distinguish between Fixed Hybrid and Flex Hybrid? 
  • Roles differ substantially and need to be supported accordingly.   

  • Some positions have specific inputs and outputs that dictate when and with whom employees should be onsite, thus requiring a Fixed Hybrid schedule.  EG Frontline employees providing face-to-face service to key stakeholders in accordance with fixed team schedule.     

  • Others have tasks that are undertaken largely independently, and/or can be done at different times or from different places than those of the people who depend upon them.  EG accounting, translating texts, etc.     Suitable for Flex if space permits variation. 

  • Some professionals need to adapt to the diverse needs and schedules of their clients – thus requiring variation in days onsite (including at the client’s workplace).  Work tasks may alternate between independent, self-directed tasks such as research, data analysis, session design, report writing, and interactive activities such as facilitating hands-on interventions with clients (events, focus groups, training, etc.)   Best suited to Flex. 


  1. Q: Over what period of time is Hybrid Flex calculated? 
  • This will be at the discretion of the supervisor, based on operational needs, teaming  (EG recommended weekly team meetings), peak periods, variation in the nature of the work, Faculty or Unit parameters, etc.   

  • A simple mechanism should be in place to know when the employee is expected onsite and to track. 

  • In some areas, Hybrid Flex will be calculated on a weekly or monthly basis.  However, in other instances, there could be significant fluctuation in the types of tasks required (EG maximally onsite during peak periods, increased independent work during a planning or analysis phase).   


  1. Q: In this new model, why are there different possible percentages of onsite work?  
  • One Size Does NOT Fit All!  What makes a work-from-home (WFH) ratio optimal is its fit to the situation at hand.   The Healthy Hybrid Framework aims to support units in considering key variables that help them arrive at the best possible decision, by using the tools at hand to reach an objective conclusion, and to track results overtime. 


  1. Q: What do I need to know about working from home 50% or 60% of the time? 
  • 50% and 60% work-from-home arrangements are not standard at McGill and are generally part of a more complex planning and approval process, managed at a Unit or Faculty level (if at all applicable).  They may become options in the context of a larger, recognized space savings initiative implemented in a Faculty or Unit. Employees with 50 or 60% WFH arrangements no longer maintain exclusive use of a workspace (NB. Employees with lower WFH ratios could also be part of recognized space sharing initiatives).


Application/Approval process

  1. Q: I have an arrangement with my supervisor according to the new framework.   Do I still need to fill out the request on Workday once the system is activated?  
  • Yes.  Even if you are maintaining the terms of an earlier agreement, you must fill out the FWA request form in Workday. The form has been simplified and should only take a few minutes to complete. The data collected provides McGill with the accurate terms of your flexible work arrangement as well as an organization-wide view of McGill’s evolving hybrid workplace with FWAs.  

  • New requests may be submitted anytime throughout the year. Once approved, they will be in effect for up to a one-year period on Workday. 


  1. Q: What if I work in the New Models of Work, IT Services, or Financial Services (part of a major recognized space-saving initiative)?
  • Please follow the directives of your Unit in terms of IF and WHEN to enter any Flexible Work Arrangement data on the Workday platform.   

  • Efforts are underway to keep the transition to Workday as simple and straightforward as possible, while consolidating all FWAs in one system. 


  1. Q: What should I do if my request is declined by my supervisor, and it does not seem to be for operational reasons?  
  • As a first step, you are encouraged to have a dialogue with your supervisor to clearly understand the operational demands from their perspective.  There may also be established Unit or Faculty parameters that are impacting their decision.  Explore together whether there are options within the framework that can be agreed upon (EG considering a different % of work-from-home; a FIXED versus FLEX schedule).   If you are still not in agreement with the response, it is recommended as a next step that you discuss the situation with your local HR Advisor.  


  1. Q: My supervisor and I discussed a few details after I had already submitted my FWA form. Is there a way for me to change my request?  
  • Until your supervisor formally approves or denies your request in the system, it remains open to changes in Workday.    

  • After a formal response has been provided, however, changes from FLEX and FIXED or to different WFH ratios require that the previous FWA be ended and a new FWA form submitted for approval.   

  • Details such as specific days onsite for Hybrid Fixed, and Flextime hours, are no longer tracked in the central system and are therefore managed locally without the need for changes in Workday.


  1. Q: Are employees in their probationary period eligible to apply for FWA?  
  • Yes.  However, the first weeks and months of employment are critical in integrating effectively into a team and an organization.  This includes building a network, understanding the culture, the values, the priorities, etc.  As such, we encourage making this time purposeful including greater onsite presence on the part of the new employee and their supervisor and/or team members. Supervisors may ask that FWA requests be submitted following the completion of the probationary period. 


  1. Q: Does the FWA follow an employee to a new position at McGill? 
  • No. The FWA is established between the employee and their supervisor, taking into account the nature of the work, the team context, etc.  When changing roles, a new FWA needs to be agreed upon with the new supervisor with consideration for new operational realities and role. 


Time Required Onsite re: Illness, Absences, Reduced Hours

  1. Q: If I'm taking time off during a given week, in the form of vacation or incidental illness, do I need to modify my schedule so that I’m on-site for the pre-agreed upon balance of time required as per my FWA?   
  • Your pre-arranged schedule may remain the same and not need to be modified solely due to an absence of this nature.  However, supervisors may take into consideration the impact on operational needs and temporarily adjust the pre-arranged schedule, if needed. 


  1. Q: During the time of year when Summer Fridays occur, do I need to be on-site for my agreed upon percentage (FWA) based on a 5-day work week, or the percentage of the actual reduced work week? 
  • When operations permit, the agreed upon % of work-from-home arrangement will be maintained during this time of the year.  For full-time employees, for example, arrangements would be based on a four-day work week during this period, rather than on five.  This may alter the schedule of an employee who is on a Healthy Hybrid Fixed option.  

  • This decision will ultimately be at the supervisor’s discretion as it may be operationally challenging to maintain the same ratios over summer months, while maintaining adequate office coverage. 


  1. Q: I am currently on a Temporary Alternative Work Arrangement (TAWA) and therefore working part-time hours. Can I also apply for FWA? If so, how does that work?   
  • Yes. You may be eligible to apply for an FWA, even while on a TAWA (Temporary Alternative Work Arrangement).   It is important to note that the allocated percentage of work-from-home cited in the FWA would be based on the total number of hours you are working within the TAWA – not on a 5-day workweek.  

    For example, if you work 3 days per week in accordance with your TAWA and are authorized to work from home 40% of the time, you could work 1 day per week from home for 4 weeks, and then 2 days working from home on the fifth week. 


New Expectations & Requirements

  1. Q: Is training a requirement for employees on an FWA?  
  • The University expects supervisors and individual contributors involved in the FWA program to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to manage hybrid work effectively and maintain team cohesion. 

  • Find out if there are any mandatory training requirements dictated by your Unit or Faculty. 

  • Employees engaged in 40% work-from-home or more are strongly encouraged to complete the Healthy Hybrid Attestation in the weeks and months to come.


  1. Q: How do we know and demonstrate that we are effective in a hybrid work environment?  
  • Both individuals and teams are expected to be able to demonstrate objectively that they continue to meet changing needs of key stakeholders in this hybrid work context. 

  • Simple, meaningful and objective indicators are important in a hybrid work environment to track trends, impacts, effectiveness and satisfaction over time, with consideration for both clients and employees alike (teaming, sense of belonging, morale, etc.).  



  1. Q: Is the cost of work equipment utilized (E.g. laptop or monitor) covered by McGill University when working from home?  
  • Unless otherwise specified, the employee is responsible for providing computer equipment and accessories such as headset, camera, and microphone; office space; telephone; printing equipment; internet connection at the employee’s WFH location and will not be reimbursed by the employer for these or related expenses.  Some employees have had their work desktops replaced by laptops and use them in all work locations. 


  1. Q: Is McGill responsible for university equipment utilized by the employee when working from home? 
  • The employee is responsible for safeguarding University equipment (E.g. laptop) if bringing it home to work from home 


Upon review of the FWA website and FAQs, if you have more, please direct them to your supervisor or local HR representative. For any remaining questions, please send them to flexwork [at] mcgill.ca

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