Jump to content

Holiday Scheduling - how to make it fair

Posted

Has 8 years experience.

So, at work, I am on a committee to decide how we are going to [fairly] schedule for the holiday season. My unit considers six holidays:

1) Thanksgiving

2) Friday after Thanksgiving

3) Christmas Eve

4) Christmas Day

5) New Years Eve

6) New Years Day

It is important to know, that last year, my unit had the nurses, by seniority, select two holidays (out of the six) that they wanted to work with a third choice as a backup. So a nurse could work Thanksgiving, and the day after and have Christmas and New Years completely off.

Some people want to select by seniority again, others want to go by what you worked last year, and this year you must work THAT holiday and take other days off. This second idea does not work perfectly because more than 50% of our unit were not here last year (so how to we schedule them). Seniority also doesn't work because theoretically you could end up with Christmas Day being staffed by new nurses.

My question is this, how does your workplace handle the holidays so that it is fair AND patient safety isn't compromised. We (as a committee) understand that no solution is going to make everyone happy - we just need some ideas!

Thanks :wacky:

I would begin by asking if anyone WANTS to work any of the holidays. Make all of the holiday shifts 8 hour shifts, unless someone wants to work 12 hours. Maybe the answer is swing shifts--someone works 7a-11a, as someone else wants to work 11a-7p. Have each nurse write out and hand in their perfect schedule on the entire week of the holidays--a self scheduling if you will. Ask your per diems if they would work any holes. Or do it by seniority--and then see if the more experienced nurses are willing to come do charge for 4 hour intervals at any time.

Otherwise, we do a 1,2,3,4,5, 6--everyone writes down 1 being the most desired time off and so on. Nothing is guarenteed, but they try to do it fairly. And then it is every other year. If you work the Christmas block this year, next year you have it off, you work it the following year, etc

Your holidays seem odd! Only winter holidays...no summer? Meaning no Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day? We had 3 winter and 3 summer, making it simpler....do you already have those holidays figured out?

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

I think your holidays are odd also. Since when is the Friday after Thanksgiving a holiday? New Years Day should be one but not New Years Eve. And if you guys consider people for all these holidays, your nurses should feel lucky and not complain. You are not going to suit everyone's needs. But I would make up the schedule how I saw fit and try to accommodate so and so but make it be known that not everyone can be accommodated due to patient safety. People knew when becoming nurses holidays would be worked. But I think you should do it in teams. Have a mix of experienced and new nurses and team 1 works Thanksgiving, team 2 works Christmas, and team 3 works New Years. That is how I would do it. And rotate the teams each year if possible.

When I worked the floors, every staffer was assigned either 'A' or 'B' upon hire. 'A' would work Memorial, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. 'B' would work New Year's, Indepence Day, and Christmas. Each year, the holidays assigned to each letter changed, but everyone always kept the same letter. If you were a B, you always worked B holidays.

So one year you'd work one summer holiday and two winter ones. Following year you'd work two summer holidays and one winter one. In essence, you were simply alternating holiday; if you worked Christmas at the end of 2001, for instance, you'd expect to be off New Year's Day 2002. No one had two holidays in a row to work, UNLESS they switched with someone (their choice, staffing didn't care).

For night shift, the holiday always started the evening BEFORE the holiday, meaning that night shifters scheduled for NY would actually be working NY Eve, but off at 0800 on NYD. Christmas, the same: come in on Christmas Eve, be off at 0800 Christmas Day (they'd already worked 8 hours on Christmas).

Fair and simple as it gets, I think.

We used a simple and fair lottery that rewarded those with seniority, but did not staff all new nurses on a holiday. Since your ratio is about 50/50, it might go something like this (depending on the size of your pool, it may or may not work):

First, each nurse writes their name on an independent and individual slip for each holiday, excluding the holiday they worked last year. (exclusion would not apply for new nurses, they must create a slip for each of the six holidays).

New staff will have six slips, seniority nurses will have four slips (unless they actually worked three holidays last year).

Each nurse drops his/her slips into his/her bucket. Another person (to ensure fairness) removes two slips as primary, and a third slip as the 'alternate' holiday, from the bucket.

The results will be added to separate bucket for each holiday (nurse A drew TG and NYE and puts each slip in the corresponding holiday bucket), and the alternate selection (nurse A drew alternate holiday Friday after TG) listed separately for each holiday on a separate list.

From that, you can preview if you will have an adequate balance between new employee/seasoned employee, and quantity.

If swaps are required to facilitate adequate staffing (meaning you MUST change the outcome in the interest of patient safety, not to facilitate the request of a nurse), the following steps would apply, in order:

1) Alternate pool -- use alternate selections, as needed, to create balance.

If that doesn't complete the task,

2) Ask for volunteers. (I am Jewish, so I would volunteer to work extra Christian holidays in exchange for time off on Jewish holidays). Only consider swaps for which there are volunteers.

If that doesn't complete the task,

3) New staff are the first to be swapped (in deference to the preference of seniority nurses NOT working a holiday they worked the prior year).

If that doesn't work to fulfill staffing needs,

4) Committee must decide who works to fill gaps.

In no case should a nurse be required to work 2 consecutive years on the same holidays.

I don't know if this will work for you, but just wanted to put it out there.

Ok, that sounds quite involved to me, and still doesn't ensure fairness! Aftter, one could wind up working three Christmases in a row, just because of the luck of the draw? "Luck" doesn't equal "Fair" in my mind.

Every time someone was hired, where I worked, the new people were simply divided between 'A' and 'B' lists. There were always new people on each holiday, and senior people on each holiday.

No one was given a 'volunteer' option, as premium pay was awarded for working on holidays....but if someone DID want to work, all they had to do was switch with someone who DIDN'T. Never hard to figure out who that was :)

I honestly would dig my heels in if I were assigned to work the same holiday(s) i had worked the previous year just because of what paper was pulled out of a box. Truth..

Ok, that sounds quite involved to me, and still doesn't ensure fairness! Aftter, one could wind up working three Christmases in a row, just because of the luck of the draw? "Luck" doesn't equal "Fair" in my mind.

No, no nurse would work consecutive holidays. See above.

"In no case should a nurse be required to work 2 consecutive years on the same holidays."

Any holiday worked in the previous year would automatically exclude the nurse from working it in the next year.

No, no nurse would work consecutive holidays. See above.

"In no case should a nurse be required to work 2 consecutive years on the same holidays."

Any holiday worked in the previous year would automatically exclude the nurse from working it in the next year.

Ah, gotcha. Got lost in the description :)

Still does seem like alot of work...and then if you do have to fix something (because of repeating holidays from the previous year) you have even MORE to do.

Too much work.

Ah, gotcha. Got lost in the description :)

Still does seem like alot of work...and then if you do have to fix something (because of repeating holidays from the previous year) you have even MORE to do.

Too much work.

Maybe so, it isn't a system that will work everywhere. And it certainly isn't for everyone. :-)

But nurses do not put in the holiday they worked previously from the very beginning of the process, so that holiday is never drawn for them, and never considered an option.

"First, each nurse writes their name on an independent and individual slip for each holiday,excluding the holiday they worked last year. (exclusion would not apply for new nurses, they must create a slip for each of the six holidays).

New staff will have six slips, seniority nurses will have four slips (unless they actually worked three holidays last year)."

DisneyNurseGal, BSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

Your holidays seem odd! Only winter holidays...no summer? Meaning no Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day? We had 3 winter and 3 summer, making it simpler....do you already have those holidays figured out?

Any other holidays we use our normal scheduling system and it works out, these 6 are just so close together (our schedules go 8 weeks at a time) and have such an emotional impact that it gets crazy.

Any other holidays we use our normal scheduling system and it works out, these 6 are just so close together (our schedules go 8 weeks at a time) and have such an emotional impact that it gets crazy.

So you mean the "eves" and "day after" AREN'T really holidays, you're just trying to fairly schedule, yes?

In that case....see my previous post, LOL, and add in "if you work the day, you don't work the eve....if you're OFF 'the day', you can EXPECT to work 'the eve'.

Working Christmas Day? Good, you're off Xmas Eve. Working NYD? Off NYE. Next year.....alternate, repeat ;)

DisneyNurseGal, BSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

I think your holidays are odd also. Since when is the Friday after Thanksgiving a holiday? New Years Day should be one but not New Years Eve.

The company I work for considers the Friday After Thanksgiving a paid holiday. We include NYEve in the list of holidays because so many people want it off.

The company I work for considers the Friday After Thanksgiving a paid holiday. We include NYEve in the list of holidays because so many people want it off.

Wanting isn't getting. If someone is scheduled to work NYD, they SHOULD have the Eve off, no exceptions. If, however, they have the Eve off....they should expect to be coming in on 1-1-15 :)

When I worked in facilities, the work schedule just went on as usual. The chips fell where the chips fell. Add to that, there were those who requested days off on holidays and were accommodated based on their chumminess with management. That is how you could explain the same people getting the same holidays off every year in a row.

Caffeine_IV

Specializes in LTC, med/surg, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

The only holiday that was really considered was Christmas Eve and day and we just flip flopped each year. And we also only worked 8 hr shifts vs 12.

It's really not going to be fair because someone will be working a holiday that they don't want to. I recall working Thanksgiving 2 or 3x in a row.

MrChicagoRN, RN

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care. Has 30 years experience.

A & B rotating holidays are the most fair.

Want to trade? Sure, work it out.

Want to work them all? That usually works too.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

If they consider Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, etc., all has holidays, I think one person should work both and then next year have both off. As someone who travels a couple of hours for family celebrations, it would seem like EVERY holiday is shot if I'd have to work either the eve or the day of EVERY holiday.