24/7 Workers Doing More, Receiving Less

Compiled By Tonya Vinas A recent survey of 24/7 workplaces by research/consulting firm Circadian Technologies Inc., paints a grim picture for workers in round-the-clock plants. Circadian polled managers from 623 24/7 facilities with about 120,000 employees. Respondents reported low staff levels, increasing overtime and limited services for workers. "The survey underscores the challenges posed by record levels of overtime, increasing risks due to human-error accidents and limited workplace provisions for the unique needs of those in 24/7 shiftwork . . . such as child care, employee training and rest facilities," says Martin Moore-Ede, president and CEO of Circadian, Lexington, Mass. "Addressing these demands should be an early priority for the recovery cycle, or it will hamper business recovery." Key findings of the survey include:

  • Overtime: The number of shift employees working more than 400 hours of overtime annually has increased by 45% since 2000.
  • Extended shifts: Seventy-three percent of respondents report holdovers, where a shift is lengthened or doubled to cover necessary overtime.
  • Shift differential: Employees working evenings and nights are paid an average of 84 cents per hour above base pay, a shift differential increase of 35 cents since 2000.
  • Fatigue: Employee fatigue has increased 101% since 2000, while those workplaces reporting no employee fatigue have decreased by 52%.
  • Child care: Only 1% of respondents provide on-site 24-hour child care, while 69% say they have not investigated the availability of extended-hours child care in their areas.
  • Napping: Forty-four percent of companies permit napping in the workplace, down 4% from 2000.
  • Benefits: Ninety-three percent of 24/7 companies do not provide human-resources coverage outside traditional 9 a.m.-5 p.m. hours.
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