A report by The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has warned employers that they need to consider what impact night shifts have on the physical and mental health of employees, and must also understand the effects working irregular hours has to the work-life balance.
Its study, "A Hard Day’s Night" was released at the start of August to coincide with striking London Underground workers who were unhappy about plans to start all-night services.
The report gave the following recommendations:
- Employers and unions should only introduce night working when absolutely necessary
- No existing workers should be forced to work night shifts if they are introduced
- Shift patterns should meet the needs of both the workforce and the enterprise
- Workers should have an element of control over their rotas
- Workers must have sufficient notice of their shift patterns
- Remuneration to workers must reflect additional costs of childcare and any other inconvenience
- Night workers must have access to the same facilities as day workers, such as hot drinks and rest areas
Profound Effects on Employee Health
A comparable study published in 2014 by the Sleep Research Centre suggests that working night shifts over a long-term period is detrimental to health – linking lack of sleep at the wrong time of day to cancer, heart attacks and type 2 diabetes.
Professor Derk-Jan Dijk of the Sleep Research Centre said that after several years of shift work, “changes in rhythmic patterns of gene expression are likely to be related to some of those long-term consequences.”
Look After Your Employees with Strong Benefit Packages
It is down to HR staff to ensure employees are provided with sufficient benefits in the workplace, and to make sure they are not working shifts that are too long and unnecessary.
Senior members of the HR department, such as benefits managers, must also make sure that strong benefits packages are in place to keep existing staff happy and attract the highest calibre employees to the organisation.
Find the right compensation, benefit and reward staff with Portfolio – call 020 7650 3190 to speak to a member of our expert recruitment team.