In order to produce as much as possible, some companies run machines for as long as possible in succession. Depending on the number of shifts, this may even include weekends. If the machines run 24/7, this is often referred to as a full-continuum schedule (5 shifts). The longer the machines run the more people are needed to operate the machines alternating shifts. Besides shifts, there are plenty of companies where only day shifts are used, meaning there is only one shift and the hours worked are often similar to those of an office job. Below you will find an overview with the most common shift systems, the shift allowance and the corresponding shifts.
In return for working exceptional hours there is often a shift bonus, this bonus is then added to the base salary. This can be over the special hours worked or over the entire (monthly) salary. Usually, the higher the number of shifts - the higher the allowance. The average allowances are listed after the different shifts. Because this can vary from company to company, it is always wise to ask about the exact shift allowance when you discuss the vacancy.
Two-shifts system (allowance average: 10-18%)
In a two-shift system, one team often works from morning to mid-afternoon, and the other works from noon to late evening. The start time of the early shift is usually between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.. A late shift often ends between 7 p.m. and midnight. The shifts rotate so you will work the early shift one week and the late shift the next. In a two-shift system, work is often done during the week, so you are free at weekends. Average work week is between 36 and 40 hours.
Three-shift system (allowance average: 18-25%)
In addition to working an early and late shift (as in the two-shift system), a third shift is added in this system. This varies by company and can be either a night shift or a weekend shift. In the three-shift system with night shift, the shifts often rotate during the week in three consecutive weeks where you have the first week early shift, the second week late shift and the third week night shift. The start time of one shift is often the end time of the other shift, often in this there is still a small overlap in which the transfer can take place. Start times vary per company but the most common starting times are around 06:00 - 14:00 - 22:00. Average working week is between 36 and 40 hours.
Five-shift system (allowance average: 25-30%)
With a five-shift system, we often talk about a full-continuum schedule. Unlike the two- and three-shift systems, in which there are five consecutive working days, in the case of a five-shift schedule there are often six consecutive working days. In return for these six working days, you do have four days off. Thus, a normal work cycle will look like this: 2 days morning shift, 2 days late shift, 2 days night shift followed by 4 days off. In five shifts, work is done on both weekdays and weekends. Therefore, the days off for the employee vary and do not by default occur on Saturdays or Sundays. An average work week for this system is 33.6 hours.