Timeshifting into the Night: Guidelines vs. Practices Affecting Time Zone Dependent Workers
25 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 17, 2012
Time-zone dependent (TZD) workers have some dependency on another entity in a far-away time zone in order to complete their immediate task. For example, Asian call center workers timeshift by working at night to answer calls from daytime North America. We examine TZD practices in three key countries: the U.S., Philippines, and India. We examine five sets of guidelines that have the potential to directly impact TZD work: International Labour Organization Night Work Convention (1990); European Union Working Time Directive; UNI Global Union Call Center Charter, UNI Global Union Offshoring Code for Managers, and the Philippines Magna Carta For Call Center Workers.
We found gaps between guidelines and practice using secondary data analysis. Do workers receive more for night shift as guidelines recommend? Data are mixed. Are the shifts longer in duration? Again, mixed data. Work hours do not generally appear to be longer than recommended -- and some may be part of a condensed workweek. Are workers given amenities for night shift, such as food availability and safe transport? The gap here is small, but there is little evidence for broader social services that ease the burden of night work. Is there attention to health? After all, there is overwhelming evidence that working the night shift is bad for one’s health. There does not appear to be a systematic approach to assessing and mitigating the negative health impacts of night work in any of the countries. Finally, are workers given control/flexibility over schedule. After all increased control diminishes work-life conflict. Our data suggest that workers do not appear to be regularly engaged in the decision making process around schedules.
Keywords: labor, union, ILO, call center, night work, shift work, timeshifting, time zone, regulation, guideline, convention, directive, charter, code, bill
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