12 HOUR SHIFT SCHEDULE: What It Is and How It Works


This is how a 12-hour rotating shift might function. For three days, you work for 12 hours during the day and have two days off; for four days, you work 12 hours at night and have three days off; for three days, you work 12 hours during the day and have two days off; and so on. A 12-hour shift simply means a working day that lasts 12 hours. This article talks about the rotating 12-hour shift schedule examples for nurses. It also talks about the 3-crew 12-hour shift schedule and its template.

How Are Work Shift Schedules Shared?

Below is how work shifts are implemented according;

  • Day Shift – The most typical shift for workers, with hours ranging from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Afternoon or evening shift – Typically, the hours are from 3:00 p.m. to midnight.
  • Night Shift – The hours are 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • Fixed Rotating Shift – A work schedule in which the time of day is constant (first, evening, or night shift) but the days worked vary. In continuous operations, this is used.
  • A rotating shift is a work schedule in which the shift time changes, usually on a weekly basis, as well as the days, worked. In continuous operations, this is used.
  • Compressed work week – A compressed work week occurs when employees work 40 hours per week but on fewer than five days, typically for 10 or 12 hours each day.
  • Normal work week – A “normal” work week is defined as 5 days a week, 8 hours per day. This is the most prevalent work schedule in the United States. However, as obligatory overtime grows more widespread, the “typical work week” is no longer 40 hours, but rather 43. The work week is getting shorter, not longer, throughout the rest of the industrialized world.

12-Hour Shift Schedule Examples for Nurses

Working a 12-hour day is exhausting. If you don’t know how to properly prepare, here are some of my favorite techniques for getting through each workweek, thriving, and avoiding nursing burnout.

  • What you consume is important.
  • It is important to get enough sleep.
  • It is critical to stay hydrated.
  • Don’t go overboard.
  • Put on something comfortable.
  • On your days off, treat yourself.

Examples of a 12-Hour Shift Schedule to Cover Around the Clock for Nurses

In 24-hour agencies, 12-hour shifts are rather frequent. We discovered that 45% of workers’ units that utilize PlanIt scheduled 12-hour shifts. Here is a list of examples of a 12-hour shift schedule for nurses below:

#1. (2 work 3 off) ( 2 work 2 off) ( 3 work 2 off)

Examples of a 12-hour shift schedule for nurses are used in several departments across Pennsylvania.

The Pitman schedule, commonly known as the (2 on 3 off), (2 on 2 off), or (3 on 2 off), permits workers to have every other weekend off. It takes two squads, each with two templates. The templates are only available for two weeks, but they may be extended for different variations. These two would cover the day squad, and then you’d need to create two more templates that are essentially the same except for the night shift instead of the day shift. This will meet your 24-hour requirement.

#2. (4 work, 3 off) ( 3 on, 4 off ) as well as (3 on, 3 off) ( 4 on, 4 off)

This rotation is much easier to understand than it may appear. You only employ two 2-week templates and two teams. As in the first example,

This timetable has been used by departments ranging in size from 25 to 175 people. They will work the same days but on the night shift instead of the day shift to provide round-the-clock coverage.

#3. (4 days of work, 4 days off)

4 on, 4 off is sometimes applicable with 10-hour hours, but it more commonly occurs with 12-hour shifts. It depends on a variety of factors, such as your payroll cycle, overtime hours, and so on. This template has an 8-week duration and requires two templates per squad. You just need two squads because 12-hour shifts only have day and night shifts.

#4. (5 work 5 off) ( 2 on 2 off), as well as (5 on 2 off) (2 on 5 off)

This cycle has been employed in departments with 50-75 workers. It necessitates two separate templates and two squads. One squad for the day and one squad for the night.

(5 on, 5 off) Sq. 1 = ( 2 on, 2 off)

#5. (2 work 2 off x2)  ( 3 work 2 off ) ( 2 work 4 off ) ( 2 work 2 off)  ( 3 work 2 off)

This schedule is a little unique. As a result, rather than having a night shift/squad and a day shift/squad, everyone works both. The template runs for four weeks, changing between nights and days every two weeks. This timetable is applicable in departments ranging in size from 25 to 50 people.

#6. (2 work 2 off) ( 4 on, 2 off (2 times)) ( 2 on, 4 off (2 times))

These examples of a 12-hour shift schedule timetable are a little easier to follow than the last one for nurses. The templates are for four weeks and offer each officer two weekends off per month.

#7. (3 work, 3 off)

This rotation is quite basic—work 3 days, off 3 days. It consists of two 6-week templates. To cover the night shift squad around the clock, you’ll need to construct two more 6-week templates.

3 Crew 12-Hour Shift Schedule

To provide 24/7 coverage, this rotating 3-crew shift schedule requires three teams to work a 12-hour shift. As a result, the employees will have to work for two days or two nights and take two days off in a row. Examine the following: Below are the 3 crew 12-hour shift schedule examples for your department to evaluate if it’s worthwhile:

#1. (2 work 2 off) (2 on 3 off) (3 on 2 off)

The Pitman Schedule is the most popular of the 12-hour rotating shift schedule templates tested. It necessitates 12-hour shifts, two templates, and two squads. If desired, you can prolong the weeks and create a 4, 6, or 8-week template.

#2. (4 work, 3 rest) (3 on, 4 rest) (3 on 3 rest) (4 on 4 off)

The Idaho Schedule is another name for this 3-crew, 12-hour rotating shift schedule template. The rotation just alternates the days. As a result, one of the templates will be [4 on 3 off] [3 on 4 off], while the other will be [3 on 3 off] [4 on 4 off].

With 12-hour days, four templates can cover all hours of the day (aka two squads of two templates). Repeat with two more squads/templates to cover the day shift for round-the-clock coverage.

#3. (4 work days, 4 off)

This 3-crew 12-hour shift schedule template is fairly straightforward. The person works for four days and then takes four days off. This pattern will continue for the next 8 weeks. Repeat the first two templates, but switch to the night shift to cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A Rotating 12-Hour Shift Schedule

Thanks to rotating shifts, companies can run two to three shifts each day, seven days a week. Workers alternate between eight- and twelve-hour shifts. Employees, for example, may work a specific shift, such as the first shift throughout the day, and then rotate to the second shift in the evening after a period of time.

Rotating shifts are work schedules that alternate from one shift to the next on a regular basis. An employee, for example, may work two-day shifts followed by two-night shifts. Businesses that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week use rotating shifts to ensure they have coverage at all times. Day shifts, night shifts, overnight shifts, and swing shifts are examples of specific shifts. Rotating shifts means that over the week or month, all employees cover each sort of shift.

What Is the Procedure for Rotating Shifts?

Rotating shifts function by having numerous predetermined shifts and rotating which employees work those shifts throughout the week or month.   For example, an employee may work five days of day shifts, two days off, and then five days of night shifts. Employers usually strive to evenly divide shifts so that each employee works a variety of shifts. The particular timetable for rotating shifts varies depending on the employer, business hours, and industry.

Who Makes Advantage of Rotating Shifts?

Rotating shifts are applicable to organizations that require 24/7 staffing to ensure that their operations run properly at all times. They are commonly used in the following sectors:

  • Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and administrators frequently work on shift schedules, particularly in hospitals and other medical facilities with prolonged hours.
  • Manufacturing: Shift schedules are applicable to factory workers such as assemblers and production managers to increase output.
  • First responders, such as firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians, work in shifts.
  • Employees of transportation companies, such as bus drivers, rideshare operators, and rental car companies, must be available at all times.
  • Sales personnel at retail stores, petrol stations, and convenience stores frequently work alternating shifts.
  • Hospitality: Because hotels and resorts are open 24 hours a day, many personnel work alternating shifts to serve customers.
  • Military: Active duty service men and reserves rotate shifts in the military.

Rotating 12-Hour Shift Schedule Examples

According to ExacTime, the following are the numerous types of rotating 12-hour shift schedule examples below:

#1. DuPont Work Schedule

The DuPont schedule, named after the firm that invented it, consists of two 12-hour shifts alternated among four work teams. Each team works four-night shifts, three days off, three-day shifts, one day off, three-night shifts, three days off, four-day shifts, and seven days off in a four-week cycle.

DuPont’s schedule is enticing because employees have seven days off in a row to rest and refresh before returning to work. Some people may find this schedule difficult because the shifts are long and there is only one day off in the middle of a long stretch of shifts. Some weeks can necessitate employees working considerably beyond 40 hours.

#2. Southern Swing Timetable

The Southern swing schedule consists of three eight-hour shifts that alternate every 28 days. Companies employ four teams that work each shift throughout the month in the following order:

  • A seven-day workweek.
  • 2 days off.
  • There are seven swing shifts.
  • 2 days off.
  • There are seven-night shifts.
  • Three days of vacation

The Southern swing schedule shift template has the advantage of having personnel work eight-hour shifts rather than 10- or 12-hour shifts. Some people, however, may require time to acclimate to working seven consecutive days.

#3. Pitman’s Work Schedule

The Pitman schedule, sometimes known as a 2-3-2 schedule, is a two-week cycle that requires employees to work two shifts, take two days off, do three shifts, take two days off, or do two shifts, and take two to three days off. Each successive shift is either a day or a night shift, with all shifts lasting 12 hours. Employees get every other weekend off under this rotating schedule, which gives them a sense of routine to spend time with family or fulfill personal responsibilities.

#4. 2-2-3-2-2-3 Shift Pattern

The 2-2-3-2-2-3 routine cycles 12-hour shifts every 28 days in the following schedule:

  • Three shifts per day.
  • 2 days off.
  • Day and night shifts
  • Three days of vacation
  • Two-night shifts are required.
  • 2 days off.
  • Three-night shifts are required.
  • 2 days off.
  • Two-night shifts are required.
  • Three days of vacation
  • Day and night shifts
  • 2 days off.

The advantages of this plan include frequent days off, never working more than three consecutive days, and a three-day weekend every other weekend. However, a rotating 12-hour shift schedule template can be taxing, particularly in construction and healthcare.

12-Hour Shift Schedule Template

The process of providing time management for your employees to know their time and can be accessed from anywhere is what the 12-hour shift schedule template is. More information can be found here.

How Does a 12-Hour Shift Schedule Work?

Employees labor for four consecutive days or nights, followed by four days off. Employees typically alternate between day and night shifts. The benefit of this schedule is that employees have plenty of time to rest and recover between their four days on the job.

Employers around the United States are attempting to force employees to work 12-hour rotating shifts. This is how a 12-hour rotating shift might function. For three days, you work 12 hours during the day and have two days off; for four days, you work 12 hours at night and have three days off; for three days, you work 12 hours during the day and have two days off; and so on.

What Does a 12-Hour Shift Entail?

A 12-hour shift refers to a 12-hour shift with regular hours of 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on a day shift or 7:00 pm to 7:00 am on a night shift, or as negotiated. If necessary and agreed upon, the 12-hour period can be extended to cover shift changeover time.

In comparison, a typical 12-hour shift begins between 6-8 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. As a result, most shift workers may spend some quality time with their families either before or after their shift.

How Many Hours a Week Is a 12-Hour Shift?

So, if you plan for people to work four days a week for 12-hour shifts, they will have worked a total of 48 hours. Forty of those hours are paid at the standard rate, with the remaining eight hours paid at 1.5 times the standard rate.

How Do You Plan a 12-Hour Shift Without Working Overtime?

Reduced work hours to 40 or less per week will result in coverage gaps that will necessitate the hiring of extra workers to fill them. In most circumstances, this is more expensive than merely scheduling overtime. In addition to higher expenses, other sacrifices will be required, as illustrated in the four approaches to eliminating overtime in 12-hour schedules for 24/7 coverage:

  • Get rid of the 48-hour work week.
  • It includes a shift of 8 hours.
  • Add a 4-hour shift.
  • Workdays should be reduced to 11.5 hours.

Can You Work 5 Consecutive 12-Hour Shifts?

Yes, depending on the job and the shifts, it is. If you are capable, some overtime is greatly welcomed. There is always a prize associated with it.

Why Are 12-Hour Shifts Better Than 8?

Extra rest and recovery time, according to Circadian.com, allows you to return to work rejuvenated and more productive. Furthermore, 12-hour shifts provide you with more time to complete longer projects, which might help you feel happy with the quantity of work you complete at the conclusion of the workday.


Some organizations don’t maintain a good shift schedule for their workers, thereby having a shortage of workers. The 12-hour shift schedule is the best and it has a better salary. In doing that, you will not lack workers and your organization will grow all over. This article teaches about the 12-hour shift schedule.


How many days do you work a 12-hour shift in a year?

More vacation days.

There are twice as many people working 12-hour shifts (182 days off per year).

Are 12-hour shifts worth it?

Employees working 12-hour shifts never work more than two days in a row, decreasing stress and cumulative weariness. There will be less commuting. Fewer days at work equates to fewer days spent traveling to and from work. This saves time and money on transportation for employees who have lengthier commutes.

What's the longest shift you can legally work?

The FLSA places no restrictions on how many hours you can work each day or week. It simply requires companies to pay employees overtime (time and half the employee’s regular rate of pay) for any hours worked in excess of 40 in a week.

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