A week needs a frontier just like the day has one. Usually, the time you have selected for the day will be the same for the week; you therefore only need to pick the day that starts the week (which in most cases is either Sunday or Monday).
Ideally, your week definition will be the same as the week on which you pay on. That is just to keep things simple. The most important thing for employees after their schedule is their pay check so if it’s easy for them to follow both the schedule and the pay check together, all the better for everyone. But the pay week and the schedule week are actually two totally separate concepts. The schedule week is the one actually driving things like overtime pay and bonus pay. The thresholds on overtime are and should be counted based on the scheduled time span. This means that if you schedule from Sunday to Saturday, nothing is stopping you from counting everything based on that week, and then pay based on a Thursday to Wednesday week.
You may wonder who in their right mind set would do that. Well again, it depends on the business. Some scheduling constraints are based on a 10-day pattern and overtime is calculated based on that 10-day time span. As you can imagine, the employees are not paid every 10 days. This happens in areas where 24/7 coverage is required and the schedule is split in standard cycles (see chapter 5) that are not dividable by 7 (a standard week).
You’ll also need to establish the definition of regular days on and regular days off. Just like we explained on how to associate a shift to a day in order to count hours, you also need to define what is a day on and what is a day off so that you can eventually count the constraints that are about days.
Most of the time, a day on is a day with an associated shift and a day off is one that has no associated shift. If you have selected to divide the hours of shifts that overlap your day frontier, then you may decide that a day on is a day that contains regular worked hours.
Some even elect to differentiate depending on when the shift was scheduled. For example, someone schedule to work Monday to Thursday on a day shift will have 4 days on and 3 days off in the week at the time of posting the schedule. If extra work comes along and you add a shift to that person on Friday, this shift is scheduled on a regular day off and would be subject to premiums including overtime even though the employee still has not reached 40 hours. It is simply because that employee was not planned to work. So the Friday, even though has a shift, remains a day off.
Although the example sounds weird, it exists. And the planner has to keep different definitions of days on and days off and be very clear on which one applies to which constraint. In these cases, the planner would be very precise in the definition of each constraint to explain how it is counted against both the hours, the occurrence, and the publication time.
The weekly constraints are therefore about sums of daily constraints and also about sequences of events that occur in the week:
- Minimum hours in a week: As mentioned in chapter 3, employees may be hired with a minimum hours of paid hours in a week. Note that this minimum is not of hours worked, but hours paid and therefore include vacation or other time-off.
- Maximum hours in a week: This constraint can be split in two. There is the maximum number of regular hours and the maximum number of hours overall. A 40-hour full time employee will have a maximum number of hours of 40 hours. That’s easy. But when you need to schedule that employee in overtime, what becomes the real maximum where an employee starts being burned out? 55 hours? 72 hours? There is a second maximum that is the sum of all hours worked regardless of how they are paid. That second maximum usually applies after the schedule is posted when employees are getting called for overtime shifts (even though sometimes, overtime can be scheduled).
- Number of shifts per week: The number of shifts worked per week is usually constrained by a maximum. Some industries offer a guaranteed minimum amount of shifts instead of a minimum number of hours, but most are counting shift occurrences to control a maximum.
- Maximum number of consecutive days on: As you would imagine, someone can’t work every day on and on with no day off. This maximum can be interpreted in different ways. It can be the number of days on scheduled at the time of posting and excluding overtime. It can also be the number of days on overall, meaning that the week is not a boundary. If the employee works Friday and Saturday this week, and also Sunday and Monday next week, that is a total of 4 consecutive days that span over two weeks. Some industries keep the maximum to one week and do not look at previous or next weeks. In that case, the example above would only show 2 consecutive days.
- Minimum number of consecutive days off: All the constraints we have seen so far are about things happening. Days off occurrences are about things not happening. When nothing happens, you count the day off based on the definitions you established earlier. This constraint of giving a minimum number of consecutive days off (most likely 2 days off) is mostly for employee satisfaction. We usually enjoy a weekend, but for people who work shifts, there is no fixed weekend necessarily. Therefore, trying to give them consecutive days off is one way to increase employee satisfaction.