Night duty

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As the night shift (or, depending on the occupational group: night shift ) a regularly agreed is working between 22 pm and 6 am usually called. In Switzerland, a distinction is made between evening work (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and night work (11 p.m. to 6 a.m.). In the German Working Hours Act Section 2, the time from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. (in bakeries and pastry shops 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.) is specified as nighttime . According to this law, night work occurs when the work comprises more than two hours of night time. As night workers to the law, who "normally perform night work in rotating shifts" or working "night work at least 48 days per calendar year" applies.

The night shift is regulated in the professional groups concerned by duty plans or shift plans drawn up as mutually as possible, and usually remunerated through surcharges on top of wages . To compensate for the additional workload , certain work breaks must be observed and the night shift must follow days off. For example, the German Working Hours Act in Section 6, unless otherwise regulated in a collective agreement, requires additional paid days off or a wage surcharge. The rest period required in § 5 (not to be confused with recovery time ) of at least 11 hours after a working period precludes a direct change to a subsequent early or late shift, so that a day off regularly follows after a night shift.

In individual cases or according to industry-specific agreements, the difficulties can also be compensated for by means of more weighted overtime or in compensation for vacation or time (time credit). Depending on the industry, there may also be special regulations.

Affected professional groups

Large-scale night shifts are essential in all those professions and organizations whose services need to be available around the clock, for example

In addition, night work is common in some special jobs that involve activities that can only be carried out late in the evening and at night because they require darkness - for example in classic optical or infrared astronomy . This can also include those catering establishments that are mainly used by customers late in the evening and at night, such as discos and nightclubs .

Labor law regulations

The labor - and operational legal and financial regulations on night services can be done in different ways. Important legal bases can be found, among other things, in the German Working Time Act , in our own company agreements or across the board in Austria: collective agreements , Germany: collective agreements regulated.

Such negotiations are particularly important in those branches of industry where the nightly interruption of production would lead to major technical or economic disadvantages - such as in the steel industry and its 24-hour blast furnaces , or with public transport carriers such as the railways.

The regulation of night shifts, which are only required on a case-by-case basis , is left to the agreement between employer and employee , but has adequate regulations in tax law and mostly also in insurance - for example in tourism and in the hospitality industry , for excursions that are only useful at night , for technical or student field workers or for military or other night exercises . Special regulations differing from country to country can also be found in the elderly and care services , in the emergency and police services, for the entertainment and leisure industry, for brothels etc. and for taxi and comparable companies.

Worker protection

Pregnant or breastfeeding women may not be employed between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. ( Section 5 (1) MuSchG ), young people may only be employed between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. ( Section 14 (1) JArbSchG ).

In hospitals and in emergency services , care and social services, the regulation of shift work , night and early work in Germany, Austria and partly also in Switzerland is a recurring topic of discussion. As an example, reference is made to the negotiations conducted in Germany in 2007 at Deutsche Bahn and with the doctors in connection with night and on- call services as well as regulations for changing times.

Occupational health aspects

Practically all body functions are subject to a daily change. The circadian rhythms of the individual physiological functions are functionally coordinated despite the different positions of their minima and maxima and determine the permanent change between the willingness to perform during the day (ergotropic phase) and the willingness to recover at night (trophotropic phase). The stress typical of night work is the arbitrary shifting of the sleep-activity change. For all night workers, the objective burden is that essential body functions have to be worked and slept at a different time than the daytime period. There is no specific illness caused by night work. Frequently mentioned complaints are

  • Sleep disorders ,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Stomach discomfort,
  • inner restlessness, nervousness,
  • with sleep deficit premature fatigue.

In addition to the biological effect, shift work can also lead to social desynchronization, since the temporal changes in the shiftworker's lifestyle associated with shiftwork contradict the temporal habits of his living environment.

The later the end of work is in the evening, the more likely negative effects are to be expected on the employees, because a later end and the resulting travel times delay the start of night sleep. The result is a shorter duration and a poorer quality of sleep. If this happens more often in a row, a sleep deficit builds up. The associated overtiredness increases the risk of accidents and mistakes, with the latter having a negative effect on the quality of the work.

In October 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified shift work with circadian disruption or chronodisruption (CD) as “probably carcinogenic” because the evidence in humans appeared to be “limited”, but in animal experiments it seemed sufficient. In 2011 there were further indications of such relationships.

See also

Literature and web links

Wiktionary: Night shift  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Nachtschicht  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ In most of the areas traditionally referred to as public service (many of which have now been privatized), the term “service” is used. In the southern areas of the German-speaking area, any form of dependent employment is often referred to as "service". Similarly, a distinction is made between “night shift” and “night shift”.
  2. Regulations on working hours ... of the municipality of Vaz / Obervaz (Switzerland)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  3. Working Hours Act (ArbZG) (PDF; 35 kB)
  4. Night and shift work Occupational health guidelines of the German Society for Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine , status: January 24, 2006, p. 2 ff.
  5. H. Grzech-Šukalo, K. Hänecke: Effects of the work of young people in the evening and during the night Final report on the project “Effects of the work of young people in the evening and during the night” - Project F 1964 - on behalf of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Occupational medicine . Dortmund, Berlin, Dresden 2011, p. 17
  6. ^ Thomas C. Erren, Puran Falaturi, Peter Morfeld, Peter Knauth, Russel J. Reiter, Claus Piekarski: Shift work and cancer: background and challenges Deutsches Ärzteblatt 2010; 107 (38): 657-62
  7. Thomas Behrens, Birte Mester, Sabrina Hense, Wolfgang Ahrens: Further potentially carcinogenic effects of chronodisruption Deutsches Ärzteblatt 2011; 108 (1-2): 8-9