Shifts and Scheduling

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024

In industries such as law enforcement, hospitality, and healthcare - shift work is commonplace. According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, 11% of workers in Canada work shifts.

If shift workers make up your workforce, you need to understand how to manage their schedules to pay them correctly. Failure to do so could lead to a breach of contract and fines to pay.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what shift work is, the different types of schedules you can provide and the advantages for you.

What Is Shift Work?

Shift work is any working arrangement that falls outside the typical workday pattern. These hours of work can include night shifts, late shifts and early morning shifts.

These arrangements can be rotational, or the same hours worked weekly.

Different Types of Shift Schedules

In order to have scheduled your shifts effectively, you need to understand the different types:

  • Fixed shift schedule: This consists of staff working the same shift pattern each week. For example, 8 am to 4 pm five days a week.
  • Split shift schedule: Employees’ shifts are split, with a substantial break in between. For example, 8 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm.
  • Rotating shift schedule: These schedules involve employees switching shifts between day and night. This is typically on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis.
  • On-call shifts: These shifts are for employees who are available to work on demand.

For example, they’ll be called upon if someone misses a shift due to a family emergency.

Make sure your staff receive their minimum breaks during and between shifts. In Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, you must provide at least eight hours between shifts.

Advantages of Shift Work

Shift work comes with a range of benefits for both employee and employer. Employee benefits include:

  • Extra learning opportunities: During late and night shifts, there’s usually less staff on site. Meaning more opportunities for employees to do different tasks than usual on a traditional shift.
  • Increased focus: There are typically fewer distractions during shift hours. Meaning enhanced attention to tasks and an increase in quality.
  • Shorter commutes: Roads and public transport will be quieter, especially for early morning or night shifts.

Employer benefits are:

  • Continued productivity: Shift work provides round-the-clock productivity for your business, without overworking your staff.
  • The ability to meet customer demand: You’re able to meet any increase in demand by utilizing your night shift.
  • Staff can choose their own shifts: Employees will have different responsibilities, such as family. By providing shift work, employees can work in conjunction with their commitments.
  • Work isn’t left unfinished overnight: Any work unfinished in the day can be passed on to colleagues working the night shift.

Disadvantages of Shift Work

There are also disadvantages to shift work. You need to understand the disadvantages of working shifts on a regular basis:

  • Employee fatigue and difficulty sleeping: These are common risks of working night shifts. The more fatigued staff are, the more likely mistakes will happen.
  • A lack of communication: Employees working night shifts will typically have less communication with colleagues. This may increase loneliness at work.
  • An increased ergonomic risk: Staff who work long shifts in a physically demanding job have a higher chance of injury problems.

You need to manage your employee’s shifts correctly. By having a clear shift work schedule, your staff are less likely to be overworked and you can meet any increase in demand.

Can Employees Get Paid More for Night Shifts?

Legislations surrounding night shift pay differ across provinces. Make sure you pay your staff the right amount:

  • Ontario: Between the hours of 5 pm and midnight employees should be paid an extra 52 cents per hour. Between the hours of midnight and 7 am employees should be paid an extra 62 cents per hour.
  • British Columbia: Employees are entitled to an extra $1.50 between the hours of 9 pm and 4:30 am.
  • Alberta: Between the hours of 3 pm and 11 pm, employees are entitled to an extra $2.75 per hour. Between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am, employees are entitled to $5.00 per hour.

Get Help with Your Shifts and Rotas Today with BrightHR

If you have employees who work shifts, you need to be able to manage it correctly. By using employee shift scheduling software, you can create effective shift schedules to help your employees.

Ensure you provide the correct number of breaks during shifts, whilst allowing staff correct rest in-between.

If you need assistance with your shifts and rotas, BrightHR has a handy tool that will make the whole process easier for you.

Our shift and scheduling tool allow you to create shift schedules and help your business run as smooth as possible, with zero hassle.

Contact us on 18882204924or book a demo today.

Jenny Marsden

Associate Director of Service

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