Extra 'Grace Days/Hours' for shift workers

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I am a shift worker and my shifts range from really early mornings (6:30-16:30), really late nights (13:00-23:30) and full nights (20:00-07:00). I was recently thinking about the different rosters different people have in my workplace (there are different fixed rosters company wide) and how different people cope with different shift times (country wide!). I personally struggle with early mornings and re-adjusting after night shifts, but a colleague struggles with late night finishes. We're all different.

Because of this, both me and my colleague often use our annual leave to coincide with the shifts we find harder to cope with. Through speaking to people, I've found they take days off specifically because they need rest during certain shift runs. For example, if there is a run of 4 early morning shifts, I will use my annual leave for the last one or two as I know how shattered and inhuman I will feel if I worked all 4. If I worked all 4 I find I use my rest days to recover, rather than enjoying time with friends and family as 9-5 workers will do on their weekends. Then I'm back to work again and the cycle continues.

My point is, I haven't used my annual leave to go on holiday or do anything on my day off like a normal 9-5 worker, I've used my annual leave to give my body a rest, so that on my scheduled rest days I can enjoy them like a typical weekend. 

Shift working is difficult. It's unnatural and unhealthy, and I was fully aware of this when I took the job. However, there is no 'perfect shift pattern', as much as management have trialed and errored with it. I've heard of people retiring from my job and passing away within a few years due to their bodies being so out of sync for so many years that they just can't cope with 'normal hours'.
I get the same amount of annual leave days as 9-5 workers, I don't think this is fair as shift working hours are longer, more demanding and take more of a long term toll on health and body.

In this petition, I ask that shift workers are given a few extra days a year (Grace Days/Hours, if you will) - that do not count as toil, annual leave or sickness - to use where they see will benefit them within their roster. I enjoy my job, and shift working is unavoidable with it, as with a lot of other jobs, but I'd like to enjoy my retirement when it comes far away in the future by trying to look after my body as much as I can now. And a few extra days of rest will be helpful to achieve this.



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