10 Hour Shifts

Policing is a tough job that’s getting tougher.

The prevalent risk of mental health injury, the pressure to complete corro, the difficulty of maintaining work/life balance – all these factors can leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

That’s why we’re seeking the introduction of a four-day week with 10-hour shifts for general duties members as part of our EBA Log of Claims. Research and the experience of members who already work 10-hour shifts, including Highway Patrol members, show the clear benefits of a compressed working week.

You spokem we listened

Like the rest of the EBA19 Log of Claims, the call for 10-hour shifts and a four-day week have come directly from members themselves.

A survey of members conducted by TPAV earlier this year found it was supported by the overwhelming majority of frontline members.

Three out of four members believe it will have a positive impact on their mental health.

Four out of five members believe it will help address the pressures associated with the burden of corro.

Mental health improvements

The TPAV survey found the vast majority of members believe their mental health would improve if they were able to work 10-hour shifts and a four-day week.

Studies show this will improve wellbeing by reducing fatigue, improve work/life balance, and give members more time to rest and recover.

We know police are more susceptible to poor mental health outcomes due to the nature of their work than the general public, and even other types of emergency services workers.

We know a compressed working week can help mitigate the impacts of mental health injuries; that’s why we’re advocating for its implementation.

Productivity

Members tell us they’re overwhelmed and stressed by endless piles of corro, with no time to complete it.

That’s why our claim includes two hours per shift designated for corro – one hour at the beginning and one at the end.

In reality, we know many of you spend more than two hours a day completing corro, but we expect having allocated corro time will take some of the pressure off.

To ensure the extra two hours are not spent in the van, we are calling for penalties to be paid if members are called out during corro hours.

Further, research shows that workers who work 10-hour shifts are more productive overall.

They come to work well-rested, are less fatigued, and enjoy a higher sense of morale to motivate them.

Victim-centric policing

In addition to benefiting members, a compressed working week will also have positive impacts on victims of crime.

Police who are rested, ready and satisfied at work are in a better position to provide support to the community.

The productivity boost that comes with our proposed 10-hour shifts model also means better responses for victims, because more time for corro means more solid investigations – for example, obtaining timely statements from witnesses or obtaining CCTV before it’s taped over.

Work/life balance

A lack of work-life balance affecting family life and general wellbeing is especially common among shift workers, including police.

The model we’re proposing will give members an extra day every week to enjoy with family and friends and engage in recreational activities.

Trials of a compressed working week for police in the United States resulted in participating officers gaining an extra half hour of sleep every night and working less overtime.

They also reported feeling happier at work and at home and experienced less stress in all aspects of life.

Better for carers

A significant impetus for workers to maintain work/life balance is to fulfil carer responsibilities.

While some may be concerned increasing the length of their work day to 10 hours would impinge on carer responsibilities, a compressed working week has many benefits for carers.

With an extra day off each week, members will pay less in childcare costs and gain more time to undertake carer responsibilities like completing household duties or attending health appointments.

Good enough for WA, good enough for us

Since 2009, WA have operated a compressed, 10-hour shift roster across four days per week.

Afternoon, evening and night shifts  are all 10 hours under current policy,  as are the majority of day shifts.

Eight-hour shifts may also be rostered throughout the day to accommodate flexibility for other requirements such  as members’ attendance at training  and court.

A survey of WA membership in 2017 indicates that nearly 70 per cent of police across ranks prefer 10-hour shifts, reporting positive outcomes on their work/life balance, levels of fatigue and wellbeing as a result of this roster structure.

The TPAV survey found the vast majority of members believe their mental health would improve if they were able to work 10-hour shifts and a  four-day week.

For more details on the benefits of a compressed working week, look out for upcoming issues of TPAV’s EBA News email newsletter and posts in the TPAV Members’ Group on Facebook.

You will also find all the details on our claim in Clause 29 of our Log of Claims, available at tpav.org.au.