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Twiga Foundation


The Legal Framework for States as Employers-of-Choice in Workplace Flexibility: A Case Study of Arizona and Michigan examines the legal frameworks Arizona and Michigan utilize for flexible work arrangements, time off, and career flexibility in their state workforce. Specifically, it provides an overview of the statutes, regulations, executive actions, and collective bargaining agreements that authorize workplace flexibility in the state workforce. After laying out this framework for both states, this paper makes several key observations: • Flexibility provides multiple benefits to states as employers, to state employees, and to the community at large. The business case for workplace flexibility is clear—flexibility helps states as employers with the recruitment and retention of top talent, addresses an aging workforce, reduces absenteeism and real estate costs, and improves disaster and emergency preparedness, among other things. Flexibility also allows employees to better balance work and personal responsibilities, and improves morale, health and wellness. For the community, providing flexibility decreases wait time for state responses and improves customer service. Flexibility also allows more employees to volunteer in the community, improves the environment and offers a range of other societal benefits. • Flexibility helps the government respond to problems as they arise. Arizona and Michigan have created and used new workplace flexibility to address emerging problems like rising gas prices and traffic congestion. In addition, the current economy provides states with opportunities to maintain—and even increase—flexibility through the creation and use of low or no cost innovative strategies for flexibility, which allow states to “do more with less.” Using preexisting authority, Arizona and Michigan have also encouraged the use of flexibility to combat the H1N1 pandemic and address other public health concerns. • Successful model flexibility programs exist and can be replicated by others. Existing programs are useful models for other state agencies and employers to learn from. As other states and employers look for solutions to assist with these and other emerging problems—be it working to improve operations in a difficult economy, responding to an emerging public health concern, or addressing a multi-generational workforce—considering the experiences of Arizona and Michigan with model programs is a useful way to help other state departments, other states, and other employers become employers-of-choice. • Leadership is a critical component of successful flexibility options. Strong leadership and support from governors, agency heads, managers, unions and others is a critical component to full implementation of workplace flexibility. Governors need to promote these policies, oversee their implementation, and continued success and applicability. Managers, in turn, need to educate and train colleagues on the available workplace flexibility. Through such leadership at all levels, state workforces can more effectively implement workplace flexibility and reap all of the benefits it offers. Assessing, evaluating, and understanding the flexibility frameworks used by Arizona and Michigan as well as the elements that make these states employers-of-choice bolsters support for all states to further develop workplace flexibility options that work for their work. In turn, these workplace flexibility options support the dynamic multi-generational state workforce, resulting in a more productive and diverse workforce that helps states be employers-of-choice.