Work Schedules

Employee Handbook Section 7

General University schedule

The work schedule for Western Michigan University is complex. No set pattern applies to all employees, but most operations are scheduled for five days, 40 hours per week. Regular business hours for most offices are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, offices remain open and fully operational during the one-hour lunch period provided by University policy.

Certain University units, including "essential services" units, have special schedules established by the Office of the President due to the nature of their services to students and the University community. These units may also have other schedule provisions that affect emergency/weather closings and winter closure. Your supervisor will let you know if your unit has special hours and/or is considered an "essential service."

Reporting absences

In the event of an unexpected absence, employees are required to notify their supervisor, or the supervisor's designee, no later than two hours after the beginning of the scheduled workday. Planned absences require notification to, and approval from, the supervisor. Some departments need and may require more notice than two hours.


Under University policy, non-exempt (hourly paid) employees are entitled to take breaks as outlined below and as scheduled by their supervisor. Breaks are not cumulative—employees may not "bank" unused breaks to take later or in combination with other breaks, lunch periods, or paid time off.

  • One 15-minute break for each four hours worked.
  • Two 15-minute breaks in day when working six or more hours, with one break during the first half of the workday and one during the second half of the workday.
  • One lunch period during regular University hours. Lunch schedules may vary by department and can be adjusted to meet departmental needs. A lunch period of 30 minutes or more is non-paid time.


Flextime scheduling is available year-round, allowing employees to slightly alter their work schedules. Employees may submit a request for flextime to their supervisor; the supervisor has discretion to approve or deny the request, or cancel or alter approved flextime, to meet departmental staffing needs. All flextime arrangements must adhere to the following requirements and procedures:

  1. All employee flextime requests should be made to the employee's supervisor. All flextime arrangements require supervisory approval.
  2. Employees on flextime must still work their regularly scheduled number of hours in a week.
  3. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. offices are staffed to remain fully operational.
  4. Employees on flextime must be scheduled to work during core hours of operation, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; these hours are not subject to flextime.
  5. Employees on flextime may arrange to start work between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and leave work between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  6. Lunch period must be scheduled for at least 1/2 hour.
  7. The potential time an office could be open for service is from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Paid holidays

The University pays employees for eight days away from work for holiday observance. The actual dates are specified and published by Human Resources each year at Holiday Schedules. Holiday pay is received for:

  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The day after Thanksgiving
  • One day at Christmas
  • One day at the New Year
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day

Employees may use annual leave to celebrate religious holidays on days the University operates under normal business hours.

Winter closure

The period between Christmas and New Year's is designated as winter closure. Employees receive regular pay for designated closure days should their department be closed and they not be required to work.

Some University departments, including those designated "essential services," must remain open during winter closure due to the nature of their services. Employees in these departments who are required to work on closure days will receive regular pay and will be provided paid time off at a later date, as arranged by their supervisor. Your supervisor can tell you if your department remains open or is closed during winter closure.

Emergency or weather shutdown

The Closure Policy is located on the Western Michigan University policies Web page.

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