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The impact of shift work on family life

SHIFT work is generally recognised as any work that takes place outside normal working hours, or at times other than the hours between 6am and 8pm Monday to Friday.

The costs of shift work have been comprehensively studied and documented and include adverse health, performance, safety and social consequences. Sunday and weekend work impact significantly on both family life and leisure activities.

For example, how many schools are closed on a Monday so parents or guardians can take their children to the zoo?

The scientific evidence is clear -- shift work costs, and for that reason attracts higher levels of remuneration than other work in developed societies. Attempts by the media and some of our politicians to equate Sunday work with work on any other day of the week are untenable. This could be remedied if our politicians decided to "randomly" open our schools, offices, and healthcare institutions etc on any of the 30 odd days in a month.

The inevitable outcome would be chaos, which is something we can equate with a significant number of political decisions based on the evidence of the past few years.

Enda Fallon
University Road, Galway

Irish Independent