Introduction Of A Compressed Working Week

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Introduction A Compressed working week (CWW) has been around since the 70s and is summarised by Tepas (1985, p.148) as being ‘any system of fixed working hours more than 8 hours in length which results in a work week of less than 5 full days of work a week”, a definition supported by others, (Ronen & Primps, 1981). Since the 90s we have seen the work nature changing immensely as a result of labour market demands and practices to provide greater work flexibility in terms of skills, working hours, contracts, conditions, pay etc. A CWW schedule offers employees social leisure benefits, (Wedderburn, 1993) subsequently providing employers’ a greater flexibility opportunity to meet competitive business labour demands. Increasing CWW demand can be attributed to employee desires for greater working hour flexibility however available research consistently voices associated health risks which little action taken to appropriately address and manage as discussed below. Key words: compressed working week, shortened working week, shift pattern, shift work, extended work hours, long working hours, health, literature review Evolving Shift patterns The CWW is thought to have begun as a 10 hour shift system. In the UK within engineering and motor vehicle sectors there was a change from the standard working week where shift worker demands for a 42hr week led to a strike, (Poor, 1970). Since the 90s we have seen the work nature changing e.g primarily within the nursing sector mainly due to
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