Shift Worker Sunday, celebrated annually on the last Sunday of November, is the perfect time to acknowledge the great work shift workers do and their impact on our daily lives. This day was initiated by Deputy, an award-winning software that offers businesses an easy way to track their shifts, making it possible to free up time for people and make the working process a whole new and efficient one!
On Shift Worker Sunday, we honor the workers who make sacrifices every day, often miss special occasions or events, and work regardless of the time of the day. But who is a shift worker? A shift worker is the person that works on different periods of time, constantly “shifting” or changing schedules that are usually outside the standard working day and timeframes.
Let’s celebrate with Deputy — a day for people that give, and give them something in return on Shift Worker Sunday.
History of International Shift Worker Sunday
Shift workers have existed since ancient times. Among them were the watchmen of ancient kingdoms and the military. Modern-day shift work can be traced back to the early 1800s with the industrial revolution and the transition to “non-stop production.”
Initial schedules split the workforce into a day and night crew that typically rotated every two weeks. The first crew would work 13 straight days (12-hour shifts) and a continuous 24-hour shift. This exhausting day was immediately followed by 13 straight night shifts, with one day off at the end before starting this work pattern again.
This back-breaking schedule resulted in high rates of workplace accidents and injuries. Union pressure to limit the workday to eight hours began as early as 1866, culminating in the violent and unsuccessful riots in Haymarket Square, Chicago, in 1886. Little progress was made until 1933, when Congress enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act, which included minimum wages, maximum work hours, and collective bargaining provisions. This act was soon repealed, but the Wagner Act replaced it. As part of these new regulations, employers were mandated to pay time-and-a-half in overtime wages for any work over a weekly level of 40 hours. Spurring the change to an eight-hour workday, with the traditional day, evening, and night shifts becoming commonplace.
In the 1960s, the 12-hour shift started to regain popularity, mostly for weekend work, as this allowed workers to enjoy more weekend time off. Some companies adopted 12-hour schedules for all shifts, a trend that continues to increase today due to the extra time off and the longer breaks provided by 12-hour shifts between the work blocks. In an 8-hour shift system, three crews are needed each day, with only one team gaining time off.
In a 12-hour system, two crews are needed while two are off work. As impressive as it may sound, the results show that shift workers spend 75% of the day working on an 8-hour shift system and 50% of the days in a 12-hour one.
International Shift Worker Sunday timeline
The concept of factory workers was introduced due to the industrial revolution; machines are powered by water and steam.
Mass production in factories with increased assembly lines leads to more shift work.
Tasks and jobs are automated using computers and electronics that support service industries and shift workers in their roles.
The world starts to become accessible by offshoring production to low-cost economies.
The rise and evolution of technology connects devices, data, analytics, mobility, and further automation.
Humans and Tech are working seamlessly, creating a personal customer experience.
Technology is leveraged to create better employee experiences and outcomes like fair and equitable schedules, input to those schedules, career growth, flexibility, and, most importantly, trust. Employees deliver experiences customers love and talk about, resulting in brand loyalty and sustainable growth.
International Shift Worker Sunday FAQs
Who is a shift worker?
A shift worker is an employee who works shifts and gets payment for working shift hours. Shift work can include evening, night, and early morning shifts and fixed or rotating schedules.
What is the benefit of shift work?
Many shift workers choose to work under this regime because their spouse works the opposite shift making it possible for a parent to always be home with the children. Or, the choice is so they can care for a loved one who is ill. Of course, other reasons are that it is the nature of the profession they chose.
What members of my community are shift workers?
A shift worker clocks in for a shift, whether it be 9 am – 5 pm, an overnight shift, or anything in between, and typically gets paid by the hour. Think of the cashier at your local market, the barista, the mechanic, the retail worker, or the nurse you see. This is the day to show gratitude for those moments and return the favor in making their day.
How to Celebrate Shift Worker Sunday
Celebrate a shift worker you know by treating them!
Here are some ways you can take part in the action on Shift Worker Sunday: * Get your barista’s coffee order and treat them to it * Get your store cashier a gift card to make their weekly grocery shopping a lighter lift. * Write a thank you note for your local care clinic team. *Send a treat basket to the handyman that saved your day.
Understand their time limitations and be patient with them
Show understanding towards any shift workers you come across by thanking them for their service as well as being patient with any delays. Many fast-paced industries often have shift workers where work can be overloaded and services delayed.
Join the movement to #ShiftWorkForward!
Deputy is a workforce management platform with a global team whose mission is to simplify shift work. Their vision is to have thriving workplaces in every community. Today, more than 300,000 workplaces in 100+ countries use Deputy to schedule, track time, pay, and communicate with millions of shift workers. Join the mission to #ShiftWorkForward and create healthier, happier work environments for shift workers in every community. Click here.
5 Facts About Shift Worker Sunday
The average age of a shift worker is 33 years old!
Shift workers can come from any age group and ethnicity. In the end, the average shows that the age of a shift worker is 33 years old.
Workloads of 16 shifts per month!
On average, shift workers work 16 shifts per month—a crazy amount of time changes. And even then, the beauty of shift work is its flexibility, allowing many to take on more or fewer shifts as needed.
Shift workers in the healthcare industry
Particularly in the healthcare industry, shift workers take the most time off sick. The pandemic helped highlight the role of shift workers in the healthcare industry, including their exposure to sickness.
Friday is the busiest day!
The busiest day for shift workers in many industries is Friday. You can find many shift workers working on weekends and even holidays!
Shift workers say they feel happy at work
Rotating shifts is usually tough and consuming and often requires sacrifices as time passes. Regardless, 40.5% of shift workers say they feel happy at work!
Why We Love Shift Worker Sunday
Shift workers are the backbone of our society
Shift workers work tirelessly to make our communities what they are, often working difficult hours and still going the extra mile to make their customers happy. The pandemic has only highlighted the critical role shift workers fulfill in our society, making this month the perfect time to thank the shift workers in our lives for how much they — and their hard work — mean to us.
We can recognize and be thankful to shift workers
On a typical day out on the town, you likely interact with or benefit from the work of countless shift workers, many of whom may be employed by small and local businesses. Those "little" moments throughout the day can often make the biggest difference, yet often go without the recognition they deserve.
We can support them during the Holiday season
One of the most stressful times of year for shift workers is the Holiday season! While it's important to celebrate shift workers every day, Shift Worker Sunday provides a great opportunity for our communities to come together and celebrate those from different industries to whom they work very hard.
International Shift Worker Sunday dates