Editor's Note: Maintain a safe and productive workplace 24/7.

Marta MoakleyOverview: Shiftwork allows employers to provide needed services on a round-the-clock basis to consumers. Some industries, e.g., hospitals and law enforcement agencies, have traditionally scheduled shiftwork for their employees. However, with the rise of the global marketplace, many organizations have found shiftwork indispensable in providing service to European or Asian clients.

Supervisors may choose to negotiate special arrangements with certain employees regarding their shift schedules. Providing employees with flexibility in the scheduling of their work may aid in an organization's retention efforts. However, employers must ensure that less desirable shifts, such as irregular or night shifts, are assigned in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner.

Trends: A growing number of states and municipalities are considering protections for shift workers that would ensure "predictive" or "secure" schedules. Employers in certain industries, such as hospitality, food service or retail, may be subject to requirements that ensure a "predictable work arrangement," or face a penalty for noncompliance.

Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor

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