Shift work has become one of the labor issues that generate more discrepancies and conflicts in companies, so you have to be clear about the concepts and regulation. According to the legal definition, the shift worker is one who provides services at different times in a given period of days or weeks. It is the form of organization of teamwork, whereby workers successively occupy the same jobs, according to a continuous or discontinuous rhythm, such shifts being carried out, necessarily, on a rotating basis by the components of the affected workgroup. In many cases, for example a company engaged in the medical field, in this case, a hospital, software such as nurse shift planner is needed.
The Jurisprudence requires the performance of night work so that a shift has the condition of rotating, for the purposes of working day. In fact, companies whose production process is continuous 24 hours a day can establish shifts. For the establishment of night work, they must take into account the rotation of the positions and also, unless voluntary affiliation, no worker can be on the night shift beyond two consecutive weeks. They can also establish work in shifts those companies in which the activity takes place even on days that fall on Sundays and holidays. These societies can organize their activity through teams of workers who develop their activity for full weeks or by hiring staff.
For the Health of the Employees
In work centres where, due to the nature of the service provided, it is necessary to establish work shifts, these must be performed on a rotating basis, according to a certain continuous or discontinuous rhythm, in order to attenuate the work monotonous and repetitive, and take care of the health of employees at all times. By collective agreement, shifts can be scheduled per season, although the requirements established must be met, such as: the intervention of a worker representative in the establishment of schedules and the publication, in advance, of said programs, for the knowledge of workers affected by the changes.
It is the employer’s obligation to guarantee, to the workers in shifts, a level of safety and health protection adapted to the nature of their work, with appropriate protection and prevention services equivalent to those of the other workers of the company. When shift work implies an extension of working hours, it will affect the mandatory rest periods established in the following way: in relation to the weekly rest, when the work organization requires it, the half-day of weekly rest can be accumulated by periods of up to four weeks or separate from the period corresponding to the full day, to be able to enjoy it any other day of the week.
As regards the daily rest, when the change of a worker’s shift prevents him from enjoying it, on the day that happens, it can be reduced to a minimum of seven hours. The difference must be compensated in the immediately following days. Between the end and the beginning of one day and the beginning of the next one, they must meditate at least 12 hours. This period must be respected even in the distribution of the daily working hours agreed by collective agreement or by agreement between the company and the workers’ representatives. In the special days for certain activities, different rest periods can be established.