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Detailing shift differential pay

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2019 | Employment Law - Employees

Most in Charleston view the average workday as being from 9 to 5. While many working professionals do indeed follow this schedule, several others show up for night, swing and graveyard shifts. Indeed, according to information shared by the American Psychological Association, roughly 15 million Americans work odd hours.

Such shifts are typically needed in those industries that offer around-the-clock service, such as:

  • Healthcare
  • Public safety
  • Security
  • Transportation
  • Hospitality
  • Technical support

Some might argue that those who choose to work in such industries understand that rotating schedules is something that they will be forced to deal with. Still, it is recognized that working such hours can exact a physical and psychological toll. For many, the only reason to work a night or graveyard shift is for the shift differential.

Differential pay is a benefit given to those employees that are required to work odd hours. They are usually paid at a higher hourly rate than their counterparts who work during the day. Oftentimes, shift differential schedules are broken down by timeframes, with graveyard shift employees being paid even slightly more than those who work during the night or swing shift.

Many may think that shift differential pay is a legal requirement for those companies that require employees to work outside of traditional working hours. Yet per the U.S. Department of Labor, that is not the case. It is left to employers to negotiate such a benefit with their staffs. Yet if an employer does have a policy offering differential pay, it must adhere to the terms of that policy. Likewise, if working odd hours forces one to work beyond 40 hours in a workweek, they must be paid overtime pay for those extra hours.

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