National Third Shift Workers Day – May 12, 2021

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WedMay 12

National Third Shift Workers Day is celebrated on the second Wednesday of May, on May 12 this year. We take the opportunity to celebrate and thank the people that work throughout the night to keep the communities safe while we sleep and continue business operations that are required to run 24 hours. As the majority of us work during the day, some people work through the night to maintain society’s emergency infrastructure and other services.

History of National Third Shift Workers Day

The modern concept of shift work became increasingly widespread during the industrial revolution, between 1760 and 1840. As America and Europe began to move towards new mechanical processes and techniques from hand-production methods, the iron-, steam-, and chemical industries saw increased profits and efficiencies. Not only were factory owners able to work more efficiently with their existing laborers, but they could also hire more non-skilled handcraft labor to work around the clock and increase production.

With a strong focus on maximizing productivity, the need for shift workers became more recognized as a way of modern working. However as great as this was for managers of yesterday as well as today, with all revolutionary developments, there were and still are drawbacks. Due to the unusual nature of people working nocturnal hours, sleep deprivation and other health issues are a big concern with night-shift workers.

National Third Shift Day was founded by Jeff Corbett. He wanted to recognize the night-shift workers that keep our cities and businesses both safe and operational as we sleep. It is important to understand that night-shift work is not only applied to the manufacturing industry but also to other businesses and government infrastructures such as water, electricity, and hospitals.

We are grateful that there are people who dedicate their lives to such an unusual working lifestyle to serve, protect, and maintain society’s operations. Today, we work towards promoting and increasing awareness of those who keep the shelves stocked, our water and electricity running through the night, and look after the sick, to name a few of the important jobs that deserve our thanks.

National Third Shift Workers Day timeline

1800s
The New Normal

The Industrial Revolution begins and more laborers and multiple work shifts are required to increase productivity and take advantage of the efficiencies in the new way mechanized working brings.

1990s
More Sectors Adopt Third Shift Practices

Between 1991 and 1997 there is an increase in office workers working nights — it is believed that, with globalization, businesses need to service clients in their local hours across the world.

1998
Protecting Night Workers

The Working Time Regulations Act is enacted to protect night-shift workers with special provisions including 20-minute rest breaks and working no more than eight hours in 24 hours.

2000s
Changing Labor Force

Jeff Corbett founds National Third Shift Day to recognize those that maintain society’s infrastructure while it sleeps and keeps it safe and operational.

National Third Shift Workers Day FAQs

Does the third shift pay more?

The third shift consistently is paid at a slightly higher rate than the second shift.

When should I sleep when working the third shift?

There is no adjustment, per se, when it comes to working nights, and getting into a strict sleep routine in the day is needed to stay as alert as possible when working a night shift. Be patient with yourself or your loved one, as it does take time, even with the steps taken.

Is working the third shift bad for you?

As hard as it sounds, sleep and regular naps are essential to maintaining a night-shift lifestyle. Making sure you take regular breaks during your shift is also a must. Ensure you remain active during your shift by taking short walks and getting some fresh air.

How to Observe National Third Shift Workers Day

  1. Honor a night-shift worker

    Celebrate someone you know that works the night shift by treating them to something special. With the burden of nocturnal working, they will appreciate the recognition for their work and the sacrifice they make, which can also be extremely dangerous.

  2. Protect our heroes

    Educate yourself on the needs of a night worker and help them in any way you can. Night-shift workers are more prone to various health conditions than those who work during the day. Not to mention the emotional strain of missing important events in their loved ones’ day to day lives.

  3. Build awareness

    National Third Shift Day is a great day to share with your friends, family, and even your social media followers, showing your support of night shift workers. This increases awareness of the holiday and these heroes who are sometimes taken for granted.

5 Eye-Opening Facts About The Night Shift

  1. Protection while we slumber

    While we sleep, night-shift workers keep us nine-to-five workers safe by ensuring that the fire departments, police stations, and other emergency services are always ready and waiting.

  2. The world never truly sleeps

    Night-shift workers help businesses to keep running 24 hours a day — this means we can still order late-night snacks and travel home when we stay out late.

  3. The term ‘Graveyard Shift’

    This term originated in the U.S. to define the working hours between 12 A.M. and 8 A.M. during the 1800s, due to the loneliness and quietness experienced during this time period.

  4. More money, more problems?

    Due to the demands and lifestyle changes of working night shifts, businesses tend to pay a premium in wages to attract potential employees.

  5. Not always a choice

    For many families, night shift working is the only solution to providing round-the-clock childcare or to support a disabled or sick family member during the day.

Why National Third Shift Workers Day is Important

  1. The unsung heroes

    Night-shift workers tend to be taken for granted. The work they do keeps us safe and, at times, provides us with vital life support, from the 24-hour fast-food restaurant to the EMTs that rush to our aid any hour of the day or night.

  2. Keeping them motivated

    By celebrating this national holiday, we can encourage and promote the great work that night-shift workers bring to the community. This shows them that, although it is difficult to work in the shadows, we remember the sacrifices they make for us.

  3. A token gift

    A memento of appreciation is something that can remind a night shift worker why they do the work they do. Night work has lull periods where they may need to pass the time, especially if it's a particularly quiet night. Fill their quiet time with positive memories and messages!

National Third Shift Workers Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 11Wednesday
2023May 10Wednesday
2024May 8Wednesday
2025May 14Wednesday
2026May 13Wednesday