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Calling in: different time frame for night and day shifts?


Specializes in Pediatrics.

How does your facility handle sick calls?

  1. 1. How does your facility handle sick calls?

    • 37
      All shifts (days, evenings, and nights) have the same amount of time before shift to call off sick.
    • 1
      Day shift staff must call off in an earlier time frame than evening/night shift staff.
    • 19
      Evening/night shift staff must call off in an earlier time frame than day shift staff.

57 members have participated

So, I was surprised to read on another thread about sick calls, that many hospitals require evening or night shift workers to call off earlier than day shift workers. For example, that day shift workers must call off at least two hours before their shift begins, but night shift workers must call off at least four hours and sometimes more, before their shift begins. This seems almost ridiculous to me. A majority of the time, people realize they are too sick to work when they get up that day/evening to get ready, not before they go to bed. A night shift worker usually wouldn't be getting up at 1 or 2 in the afternoon after working all night. That would be like a day shift worker getting up at 1 or 2 in the morning, which no one would expect them to do and rightfully shouldn't!

So I was just wondering if this is a widespread practice, and if it is, what is the reasoning behind it?

Thanks for any input/experiences!

(edit- just for what it's worth, my hospital requires all shifts to call in at least 2 hours before the start of shift, barring extenuating circumstances. it's always seemed pretty fair to me and usually works out well staffing-wise; 2 hours is usually enough to find a replacement if one's going to be found, in my experience)

Edited by perfectbluebuildings

perfectbluebuildings, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics.

also, please let me know if I need to clarify the poll options; I'm not always very good at wording stuff the way I mean it. Thanks.

All of the nurses and CNAs on my unit work 12 hour shifts, both shifts have to call in at least 2 hours prior to their shift. However, the telemetry techs work 8 hour shifts and the day/evening shifts have the same 2 hour rule but the night shift has to report off by 7pm. I was told it's because they can't find a replacement at 9pm as easily but at 7pm someone who was up all day may be willing to take a nap and then come in.


Specializes in ER/Ortho.

If you work 7am-7pm you must call in 4 hours prior so by 3am. If you work 7p-7a then you must call in 4 hours prior so by 3pm.

I have only called in once, but I didn't make it four hours in advance. I work 7p-7a, and I didn't leave the hospital until 8:30. After the hour drive home it was 9:30. I ate, showered, and it was close to 10:30. I sleep until 4:30p, work up, realized I felt horrible, but planned to go in anyway. It wasn't until about 4:45 when I took my clothes off to jump in the shower that I realized I was covered in hives. I ended up calling them around 5p (only 2 hours prior), and I don't think they were happy.


Specializes in ER/Ortho.

Also imagine day shift. When I did days I wouldn't get home until 9:30, and by the time I ate, showered, and said good night to my kids it was 11pm. I would have to call in by 3am....What? Seriously!!!!

KaroSnowQueen, RN

Specializes in Telemetry, Case Management. Has 30 years experience.

When I worked the floor, day shift had to call in one hour prior to shift (altho they were thrilled if it was earlier), and second/third had to call in at least two hours before.

JB2007, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med-SURG,STICU. Has 5 years experience.

Where I work it is at least 2 hours before your shift. However, if I am feeling really bad I call in 8 hours before my shift. A lot of day shifters do not like to be called at 3 am and I know they are more likely to find at replacement at 9 pm. Some of the PRN staff needs to find child care and if they have enough notice they will pick up the shift. I know my co-workers habits and I try to make it as easy as possible when I must call in.


Specializes in Pediatric Intensive Care, ER.

That is also the policy where I work. Dayshifters get an extra couple of hours to call in versus night shift - always did seem unfair....

I was always told that where I work, dayshift (7a-7p) is supposed to call in by 5am and night shift (7p-7a) is supposed to call in by 3pm. My unit is pretty lax and understanding about the time frame though. If you wake up at 4:30pm and realize you feel awful, there's really nothing you can do. I will say that people don't typically abuse this where I work and usually call out in a timely fashion, so maybe that's why when someone does have to call out on short notice with good reason, it's not held against them.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

Same time for nights and days. We only have to give an hours notice.

I suspect the reasoning for having night shift call in earlier is that so if they have to have someone come in for OT they can give them enough notice that they have time to take a nap.

In my hospital the day shift has to call in by 6am (for a 7:30am start) and the night shift has to call in the 2pm (for a 7:30pm start). I find it ridiculous to have to call in a 2pm for a night shift. I normally get up at 5pm for a night, so am I supposed to get up to make sure I'm feeling OK? They say it is so they have time to find staff, but it just seems unfair to night workers.