Shiftwork Law and Legal Definition

Shiftwork is work performed by an employee during a schedule of hours that is a divided portion of the workday. Shiftwork may take various forms, such as:

  • continuous (24 hours/day, 7 days a week);
  • discontinuous (24 hours/day, 5 days a week - 3 shift systems);
  • day/afternoon only (2 shift system);
  • fixed shifts (typically 5 days/week);
  • rotating shifts (almost all 7 day rosters);
  • irregular hours;
  • early start or graveyard shifts

Because of the irregular hours commonly associated with shiftwork, employees may suffer ill effects in sleep and other health concerns. According to the American Sleep Disorders Association, 5 million people endure sleep disorders as a result of shift work. Studies exist linking shiftwork to higher accidents on the job.