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December 1985, Vol. 108, No. 12
Shift work pay differentials
and practices in manufacturing
About one-fourth of the production workers in metropolitan area factories worked on late shifts in the early 1980'sa proportion that has remained fairly stable over the past two decades. The incidence of late-shift work, however, varies greatly among manufacturing industries, ranging from less than 5 percent of the production work force in such labor intensive industries as apparel and wood furniture to approximately one-half in more capital intensive industries such as cotton and manmade textiles, cigarettes, and glass containers.
In 1984, at least nine-tenths of the late-shift workers in urban factories received premiums over the pay rates of their day-shift counterparts. Most commonly, the differential was a cents-per-hour addition to day-shift rates, averaging 23.2 cents for work on the second shift and 29.9 cents for work on the third shift. For those cases in which there were percentage differentials, the average was 7.3 percent of day rates for the second shift and 10.0 percent for the third. Among individual industries surveyed between May 1978 and October 1984, types and amounts of differentials varied widely. For second shifts, cents-per-hour differentials commonly averaged between 10 and 20 cents; percentage premiums, usually between 5 and 10 percent. Similar ranges for third shifts were 15 to 25 cents per hour and 5 to 10 percent. Differentials expressed in cents-per-hour have been increased periodically but, generally, not as rapidly as basic hourly pay rates.
This excerpt is from an article published in the December 1985 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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