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Rotating Shift Schedule: Continental Plan

This is a fast rotation plan that uses 4 teams and three 8-hr shifts to provide 24/7 coverage. Each team rotates through a sequence of 2, 2, and 3 consecutive day shifts, swing shifts, night shifts, or days off. The following is a typical team schedule for a 4-week (28 days) repeat cycle:

  • Week 1: 2 day shifts, 3 swing shifts, 2 night shifts
  • Week 2: 2 days off, 3 day shifts, 2 swing shifts
  • Week 3: 2 night shifts, 3 days off, 2 day shifts
  • Week 4: 2 swing shifts, 3 night shifts, 2 days off

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Characteristics

Plan ID C4TR08-1
Name Continental Plan, also referred to as the 2-2-3 Rota
Applicability 24/7 operations
Teams Required 4
Shifts Day (8-hr), Swing (8-hr), Night (8-hr)
Repeat Cycle 28 days
Rotation Fast, forward rotation from day shift to swing shift to night shift
Average Hours per Week 42
Staffing Fluctuation Balanced from shift to shift and day to day
Pluses
  • Minimum 2 consecutive days off
  • Free weekend every 4 weeks
  • 8-hr shifts
Minuses
  • 7 consecutive work days
  • 3 consecutive days on night shifts every 4 weeks
  • Requires an average of 2 overtime hours per employee per week
Common Usage Popular with 24/7 operations that prefer 8-hr shifts
Notes This is an alternative to the Metropolitan plan for 24/7 operations using 8-hr shifts. It provides up to 3 consecutive days off and ensures 1 free weekend every 4 weeks. Its main drawback is the long 7 consecutive work days.

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