Category Archives: Hours of Work

The Overworked American

Source: Matt Bruenig, Jacobin, June 4, 2018

We already have too much work in the United States. Why not redistribute it? ….

In light of recent discussions, I thought it might be useful to refresh myself on how different work is in the US and Nordic countries, especially in more recent years after the effects of the Great Recession have started to wear off. In particular, I am interested to know how much the quantity of work differs in these countries. ….

An Unequal Division of Labor: How Equitable Workplace Policies Would Benefit Working Mothers

Source: Sarah Jane Glynn, Center for American Progress, May 2018

From the overview:
Most working mothers return home to a second shift of unpaid housework and caregiving after their official workday ends. When paid work, household labor, and child care are combined, working mothers spend more time working than fathers.

Fighting Night-Shift Fatigue

Source: Carol Potera, AJN The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 118 no. 5, May 2018

Because society needs nursing services around the clock, nurses must work irregular hours and at night. This leads to disruption of circadian rhythms and to sleep deficits that can affect work readiness and the health, safety, and well-being of nurses. Long shifts, shift rotations, double shifts, and evening and night shifts pose short- and long-term health and safety risks for nurses, as well as danger to their patients. Sleep-deprived nurses are also at risk for car accidents. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, less than four hours of sleep in the past 24 hours increases a driver’s risk of crashing 11.5 times, compared with just 1.3 times after seven hours of sleep…..

How to Break an NDA, See If Your Pay Is Fair, Confront a Colleague, and More

Source: Mary Pilon, Bloomberg, May 1, 2018

Practical advice on some of the most uncomfortable—and important—things you could do for your career.

Related:
Employee Rights
Source: NOLO, 2018

Can you be required to take a drug test? Who is entitled to earn overtime? What kinds of conduct fall under the definition of illegal discrimination and harassment — and what should you do if you are a victim? Can you take time off work to care for a new child, serve in the military, cast your ballot, or recover from a serious illness? Get detailed answers to all of your questions about workplace rights here.

Your Workplace Rights
Source: Workplace Fairness, 2018
Hiring & Classifications
Looking for a new job? Wondering if the questions you were asked at the interview were legal? This section addresses some of the most common issues you may encounter in the hiring process, and how you are classified as a worker may affect your workplace rights.

Discrimination
Are you being treated differently at work? If so, is it because of your race, sex, age, disability, national origin or religion? Wondering what other kinds of discrimination are illegal? Get the facts on workplace discrimination here.

Harassment & Other Workplace Problems
Whether you’re being pressured to have sex with your boss, forced to listen to foul language or slurs, or wondering whether the comment you made might get you in trouble, you’ll find this information on harassment and other problems you might encounter on the job to be helpful.

Unpaid Wages/Wage & Hour Problems
Not getting paid what your employer owes you? Are you forced to work overtime, but not receiving any extra pay? Get the facts on “wage and hour” laws here.

Benefits & Leaves
For most employees, your job isn’t just about the pay, but also what benefits are included. Sick leave, disability leave, family/medical leave–the different kinds of leave you may be allowed to take can be confusing. Get information about health care coverage, pensions, leave eligibility and other benefit-related information here.

Privacy & Workplace Surveillance
Is somebody watching you? It just might be your employer. Find out here what rights to privacy in the workplace you do and do not have.

Health & Safety/Workplace Injuries
Is your workplace unsafe? Are you worried about getting hurt at work? Wondering what to do about it? Have questions about the workers’ compensation system? Find the answers here.

Whistleblowing & Retaliation
Fighting back when you see your employer doing something wrong can be scary, and risky. But there are laws that can protect you in a number of situations. Learn more about how you might be protected when you blow the whistle or challenge illegal conduct.

Unions & Collective Action
Facing an organizing campaign at work (or want to get involved in one)? Already a union member but don’t understand how things work? Fired for organizing or joining a union? This section covers information about your rights to organize and be in a union, and how unions work.

Termination & Unemployment
Whether you were suddenly fired, laid off, or asked to resign, you’ll want to know what happens now that you are out of a job.

Changing schedules take a toll on medical interns

Source: Kara Gavin, Futurity, March 18, 2018

This year’s crop of graduating medical students just found out what hospital they’ve “matched” to for the residency training they’ll start this summer. A new study suggests the changing schedules they’ll have to endure as residents may take a heavy toll on sleep, physical activity, and mood. ….

Related:
Effects of Sleep, Physical Activity, and Shift Work on Daily Mood: a Prospective Mobile Monitoring Study of Medical Interns Authors Authors and affiliations
Source: David A. Kalmbach, Yu Fang, J. Todd Arnedt, Amy L. Cochran, Patricia J. Deldin, Adam I. Kaplin, Srijan Sen, Journal of General Internal Medicine, First Online: March 14, 2018

From the abstract:
Background:
Although short sleep, shift work, and physical inactivity are endemic to residency, a lack of objective, real-time information has limited our understanding of how these problems impact physician mental health. Objective To understand how the residency experience affects sleep, physical activity, and mood, and to understand the directional relationships among these variables.

Design:
A prospective longitudinal study. Subjects Thirty-three first-year residents (interns) provided data from 2 months pre-internship through the first 6 months of internship.

Main Measures:
Objective real-time assessment of daily sleep and physical activity was assessed through accelerometry-based wearable devices. Mood scaled from 1 to 10 was recorded daily using SMS technology. Average compliance rates prior to internship for mood, sleep, and physical activity were 77.4, 80.2, and 93.7%, and were 78.8, 53.0, and 79.9% during internship.

Key Results:
After beginning residency, interns lost an average of 2 h and 48 min of sleep per week (t = − 3.04, p < .01). Mood and physical activity decreased by 7.5% (t = − 3.67, p < .01) and 11.5% (t = − 3.15, p < .01), respectively. A bidirectional relationship emerged between sleep and mood during internship wherein short sleep augured worse mood the next day (b = .12, p < .001), which, in turn, presaged shorter sleep the next night (b = .06, p = .03). Importantly, the effect of short sleep on mood was twice as large as mood’s effect on sleep. Lastly, substantial shifts in sleep timing during internship (sleeping ≥ 3 h earlier or later than pre-internship patterns) led to shorter sleep (earlier: b = − .36, p < .01; later: b = − 1.75, p < .001) and poorer mood (earlier: b = − .41, p < .001; later: b = − .41, p < .001). Conclusions: Shift work, short sleep, and physical inactivity confer a challenging environment for physician mental health. Efforts to increase sleep opportunity through designing shift schedules to allow for adequate opportunity to resynchronize the circadian system and improving exercise compatibility of the work environment may improve mood in this depression-vulnerable population.

Flexible Work Hours Are Most Valuable Perk for Two out of Five Employees

Source: Elizabeth Ballou, Clutch, Press Release, February 22, 2018

Flexible work hours are the perk that can most influence employee satisfaction, according to a new survey by Clutch, a B2B research firm. More than 40% of full-time U.S. employees surveyed say that flexible hours are the most important perk they receive, and over half (54%) say it’s the perk that matters most to their job satisfaction. ….

The Employee Right to Disconnect

Source: Paul M. Secunda, Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2018

From the abstract:
U.S. workers are increasingly finding it difficult to escape from work. Through their smartphones, email, and social media, work tethers them to their workstations well after the work day has ended. Whether at home or in transit, employers are asking or requiring employees to complete assignments, tasks, and projects outside of working hours. This practice has a profound detrimental impact on employee privacy and autonomy, safety and health, productivity and compensation, and rest and leisure. France and Germany have responded to this emerging workplace issue by taking different legal approaches to providing their employees a right to disconnect from the workplace. Although both the French legislative and German corporate self-regulation models have their advantages, this paper puts forth a hybrid approach using existing U.S. safety and health law under OSHA to respond to this employee disconnection problem. Initially under the general duty of clause of OSHA, and then under OSHA permanent standards and variances, this article provides a uniquely American approach to establishing an employee right to disconnect from work.

High-fat diets may be worse for shift workers

Source: Christina Sumners, Futurity, February 6, 2018

Shift workers’ constantly changing schedules make it tough for their biological clocks to keep accurate time. The results could make the negative effects of a high-fat diet even more pronounced, a new study suggests.

About 15 million Americans don’t have a typical nine-to-five workday, and many of them—nurses, firefighters, and flight attendants, among other professions—may see their schedule change drastically one week to the next…..

Related:

Shift work cycle-induced alterations of circadian rhythms potentiate the effects of high fat diet on inflammation and metabolism
Source: Sam-Moon Kim, Nichole Neuendorff, Robert C. Alaniz, Yuxiang Sun, Robert S. Chapkin, and David J. Earnest, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, Published Online: 5 Feb 2018

From the abstract:
Based on genetic models with mutation or deletion of core clock genes, circadian disruption has been implicated in the pathophysiology of metabolic disorders. Thus, we examined whether circadian desynchronization in response to shift work–type schedules is sufficient to compromise metabolic homeostasis and whether inflammatory mediators provide a key link in the mechanism by which alterations of circadian timekeeping contribute to diet-induced metabolic dysregulation. In high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice, exposure to chronic shifts of the light–dark cycle (12 h advance every 5 d): 1) disrupts photoentrainment of circadian behavior and modulates the period of spleen and macrophage clock gene rhythms; 2) potentiates HFD-induced adipose tissue infiltration and activation of proinflammatory M1 macrophages; 3) amplifies macrophage proinflammatory cytokine expression in adipose tissue and bone marrow–derived macrophages; and 4) exacerbates diet-induced increases in body weight, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance in the absence of changes in total daily food intake. Thus, complete disruption of circadian rhythmicity or clock gene function as transcription factors is not requisite to the link between circadian and metabolic phenotypes. These findings suggest that macrophage proinflammatory activation and inflammatory signaling are key processes in the physiologic cascade by which dysregulation of circadian rhythmicity exacerbates diet-induced systemic insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

Examining Exposure Assessment in Shift Work Research: A Study on Depression Among Nurses

Source: Amy L Hall Renée-Louise Franche Mieke Koehoorn, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Access, January 11, 2018

From the abstract:
Introduction:
Coarse exposure assessment and assignment is a common issue facing epidemiological studies of shift work. Such measures ignore a number of exposure characteristics that may impact on health, increasing the likelihood of biased effect estimates and masked exposure–response relationships. To demonstrate the impacts of exposure assessment precision in shift work research, this study investigated relationships between work schedule and depression in a large survey of Canadian nurses.

Methods:
The Canadian 2005 National Survey of the Work and Health of Nurses provided the analytic sample (n = 11450). Relationships between work schedule and depression were assessed using logistic regression models with high, moderate, and low-precision exposure groupings. The high-precision grouping described shift timing and rotation frequency, the moderate-precision grouping described shift timing, and the low-precision grouping described the presence/absence of shift work. Final model estimates were adjusted for the potential confounding effects of demographic and work variables, and bootstrap weights were used to generate sampling variances that accounted for the survey sample design.

Results:
The high-precision exposure grouping model showed the strongest relationships between work schedule and depression, with increased odds ratios [ORs] for rapidly rotating (OR = 1.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.91–2.51) and undefined rotating (OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 0.92–3.02) shift workers, and a decreased OR for depression in slow rotating (OR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.57–1.08) shift workers. For the low- and moderate-precision exposure grouping models, weak relationships were observed for all work schedule categories (OR range 0.95 to 0.99).

Conclusions:
Findings from this study support the need to consider and collect the data required for precise and conceptually driven exposure assessment and assignment in future studies of shift work and health. Further research into the effects of shift rotation frequency on depression is also recommended.

Working 9 to 5? Union Membership and Work Hours and Schedules

Source: Ryan Finnigan Jo Mhairi Hale, Social Forces, Advance Access, Published: January 22, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Millions of workers in the United States experience volatile weekly working hours and nonstandard shift work, particularly following the Great Recession. These aspects of work schedules bring greater economic insecurity and work-life conflict, particularly for low-wage workers. In the absence of strong and widespread policies regulating work hours in the United States, labor unions may significantly limit varying hours and nonstandard shifts. However, any benefits of union membership could depend on local unionization rates, which vary widely between states. This paper analyzes the relationship between union membership and varying weekly work hours and nonstandard schedules among hourly workers using data from the 2004–2007 and 2008–2012 Surveys of Income and Program Participation. The results show that union members were significantly less likely to report varying numbers of hours from week to week, particularly in states with relatively high unionization rates. In contrast, union members were more likely to report nonstandard schedules. The earnings penalties for varying hours and nonstandard schedules are significantly weaker among union members than non-members. Altogether, the results demonstrate some of unions’ continued benefits for workers, and some of their limitations.