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Study: Work-life balance and role-overload of shift workers

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The Daily

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Over 4 million workers aged 19 to 64 worked something other than a regular day shift in 2005. Of these shift workers, about 3.3 million worked full time, that is, 30 or more hours a week. Rotating shifts and irregular schedules were the most common types of shift work, accounting for 2.3 million full-time workers. Women made up 37% of all full-time shift workers. The majority of women working shifts (69%) worked part time.

Shift workers were somewhat more dissatisfied (29%) with their work-life balance, compared with regular day workers (23%). About 31% of shift workers complained of role overload, the feeling of too much to do and not enough time to do it, compared with 27% of regular day workers.

Both men and women who worked 46 hours or more a week were less likely to be satisfied with the balance between work and home. Long work hours were also associated with role overload.

Shift workers were more likely to cut back on sleep, to spend less time with their spouse, and to worry about not spending enough time with family, compared with regular day workers.

This information is based on data from the 2005 General Social Survey as reported in the article, "Work-life balance of shift workers," now available in the August 2008 online issue of Perspectives on Labour and Income, Vol. 9, no. 8 (75-001-XWE, free), from the Publications module of our website.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Cara Williams (613-951-6972;, Business and Trade Statistics.