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Shift work

The impact and benefits of shift work to employers and employees

Shift working is increasing in the UK, and more workplaces are identifying productivity advantages of employees working a variety of schedules. 

  1. What is shift work?
  2. The risks of shift work
  3. Improving management and health in shift working
  4. Shift work legislation

1. What is shift work?

There is no specific definition of shift work in law. It usually means a work activity that begins, or ends, outside of the standard daytime working hours of 7am to 7pm.

Shift work can involve working

  • early mornings
  • late afternoons/evenings
  • nights 
  • at the weekend
  • extended work periods of 12 hours, or more
  • rotating hours of work
  • split shifts
  • overtime
  • on standby/on-call duties.

Some roles that require shift schedules include jobs in

  • supermarkets
  • petrol stations
  • call centres
  • hospitality
  • manufacturing
  • those workplaces that allow flexible hours.  

When addressing shift work issues, it is important to remember to include temporary workers and other workers such as

  • sub-contractors
  • agency workers
  • volunteers
  • those who have more than one job.