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Ask4Flex:  The Background


Ask4Flex:  T
ime to Choose


San Francisco’s Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance (FFWO) went into effect in January, 2014. Enforcement of its right to request flexible schedules begins in January 2015. Employers of 20 or more people must comply by allowing their caregiving employees to request a range of flexible schedules.

Organizations can meet this modest standard – or take this opportunity to move toward greater flexibility and collaboration for all employees. The
Ask4Flex toolkit offers ways to successfully pursue either goal. Created by the principals of Collaboration@Work, these tools have drawn on our work with more than 100 companies building more flexible workplaces. We assume that:  

          ► Flexible Work Arrangements can benefit both employees and employers
          ► Collaboration between managers and employees in requesting and deciding on new schedules produces the
               best results
          ► There is value in having consistent, even formal processes and structures, to increase access and fairness
          ► Best practices can make the change process easier

Seeing the potential value, most employers are likely to comply with the minimum FFWO standards. Others might observe the letter, but not the spirit of the new law. They may share their lack of enthusiasm, provide little guidance to employees and managers, push deadlines to the limit and search for reasons to say no.

The Ask4Flex website can help the reluctant become supporters. Working within the FFWO framework it advocates for collaboration over compliance as the higher-level goal for employers. In sections addressed to the employer, the manager and the employee, the site fleshes out the process to make mutual gain the focus of every step.

Everyone involved should explore the options and decide what is best for employers, employees and their families.

Flex Request Resources

The pioneering SF nonprofit New Ways to Work began introducing flexibility into organizations four decades ago.

Today New Ways sponsors Collaboration@Work, a project supporting superior implementation of the new “Right to Request” ordinance.

It collaborates with employers, government and employees to build a more flexible San Francisco.

SF-FFWO Website
The City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement enforces the new law. This official site hosts the law, forms and official information.

■  Employee Requests 

■  Manager Reviews 

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