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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 February 11 - 18  > Most nursing-care facilities force workers to work two shifts
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2020 February 11 - 18 [LABOR]

Most nursing-care facilities force workers to work two shifts

February 13, 2020
Neary 90% of nursing-care facilities use a two-shift work system and more than 70% of them impose a 16-hour or longer night shift on workers. This was shown in the survey results which the Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions (Iroren) published on February 10. Iroren conducted the survey in June 2019.

In the survey, asked about the number of night shifts worked per month, 42.9% of nursing-care workers under the two-shift system said that they worked night shifts beyond the limit set under the government guidelines which is four times a month. Among three-shift nursing-care workers, 11.9% worked more than eight night shifts every month, the government-set monthly limit.

Regarding a question about the shift work environment, care workers at large-scale facilities, such as special nursing-care homes for the elderly, said that they work night shifts in a team. In comparison, at smaller facilities like group-home facilities, the practice of working the night shift alone is fairly common. It was also revealed that 40% of care facilities surveyed have no napping room, which means that workers at these facilities have to work at night without taking a nap.

Furthermore, due to labor shortages, many nursing-care facilities require non-regular workers to work in rotating shifts. At smaller facilities, in particular, the ratio of non-regular workers to the total workers on night duty reaches 40%.

At a press conference held in Tokyo, Iroren vice secretary general Yonezawa Akira pointed out that to improve care workers’ working conditions is a pressing issue and said that it is necessary to increase the number of care workers and realize better social welfare services.

A 38-year-old man working at a special nursing-care home in Tokyo said, “I’m completely exhausted from excessively long working hours and heavy workloads, though I'm proud of the work I do. I’m eager for a better work environment.”

Past related article:
> 70% of nursing-care facilities impose 16 hour shifts on workers: Union survey [February 16, 2019]
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