VA 72/80 schedule

Specialties Government


I work for the VA ER in Las Vegas, and our unit is considering the 72/80 schedule. Does anyone have any experience with this? If so, do you like it? What are some of the pros and cons?

Also, how does the AL and SL work when you take leave?

Do you still accumulate leave and retirement at the same rate?

Thanks. Any information will be helpful.

I work for the VA ER in Las Vegas, and our unit is considering the 72/80 schedule. Does anyone have any experience with this? If so, do you like it? What are some of the pros and cons?

Also, how does the AL and SL work when you take leave?

Do you still accumulate leave and retirement at the same rate?

Thanks. Any information will be helpful.

Not sure what you mean by "how does AL and SL work when you take leave"...? You accrue 8 hours of vacation pay (AL) every pay period; you accrue 4 hours of SL for the same period. Doesn't matter if you take a two-week vacation, you don't NOT accrue PTO while you're off. Otherwise it would be a penalty for taking time off....and that's not allowed. Is this what you are asking? I'm guessing you're new and haven't requested leave yet :)

As for the work schedule, I'm sure there are others who can answer better than me; I'm a straight 40/wk gal.

Thanks for your reply.

I am referring to how AL and SL are deducted when you take leave on a 72/80 schedule. I have been reading that if you work a 72 hour schedule with the VA, that they deduct 1.111 hours of AL for every 1 hour taken. So if you take 36 hours, you are actually charged for approx. 40 hours. But while you are charged more for taking leave, you still accrue at the same as an 80 hour nurse (8 x AL and 4 x SL every 2 weeks).

It is a very convoluted policy that we are trying to weed through and find out the pros and cons of switching to a 72 hour schedule. We are trying to determine how it will affect our leave, pay, retirement, etc... I know it is popular at some VA locations, but is not currently being used on any units at my hospital.

ok, convoluted is an understatement! What a mess. Sorry I can't be more helpful; no doubt someone else here has a better clue.

Does seem to me that if you're gone for 8 hours, you get 8 hours of AL/SL deducted. But then again, VA rarely seems to do things the way I THINK they ought to be done!

Specializes in Family medicine, Cardiology, Spinal Cord Injury.

Has anything come of this at the Las Vegas VA? I work at the Long Beach VA and would like to get this work schedule for myself if it is possible to work out with HR and my manager. The additional 8hr shift throws everyone off on our unit when the 8hr person(s) leaves, disrupting continuity of care.

I work at the Reno, NV VA and I am working on a project to try and bring in the 72/80 alternate work schedule option. I am trying to find out what other VA hospitals in the country use the 72/80 work week for nurses. Does the Las Vegas VA do this yet? I have heard the Boise Idaho VA might do it and I am waiting to hear back from them.

The 72/80 pay period does exist in the VA but a small percentage of VA hopitals use it, does any one here know which VA hospitals use it for their nurses?

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Feel free to PM me for more information on my research or any additional information on who to contact and find VA hospitals that use 72/80..


Hi, I was wandering if you made any headway in regard to the 72/80 work week. I am not able to PM you since this is the first time I have posted, and as I understand there are a minimum number of posts required before you are able to use the PM option. In any case, I work for the Phoenix VA and have been working on bringing the 72/80 hour work schedule as an option here to Phoenix. It is my understanding that the Tucson VA does 72/80, but I have not been able to find any other VA hospitals that have been implementing these work hours. Please let me know if you have been able to move this forward at your facility. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Hi Jeremy, I was wandering if you ended up implementing the 72/80 work schedule? I have been looking into implementing the 72/80 work hours at the Phoenix VA. Any information that you could share with me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

This topic definitely interests me, and I'm curious to see what everyone reports. I feel that one of the primary reasons our VA hospital is not competitive with the private sector is because nurses love their 12-hour shifts. Also, coordinating our current mix of 8 and 12-hour shifts can be a nightmare.

Specializes in A little bit of this and that.

Been working on this at WLA VA for almost a year. Leadership says it's too expensive. As far as I know from reaching out to other VAMCs... Palo Alto, San Diego, Robley Rex in Kentucky, Atlanta,and Overton Brooks VAMC are at various stages of implementing 72/80. But check Title 38 law, it states for all purposes(benefits, leave, pay) an employee is considered full time. Annual salary is divided by 1872 instead of 2080. So hourly rate will increase. One thing you do not get is Holiday Pay.

38 U.S. Code § 7456A - Nurses: alternate work schedules

US Code

(a) Applicability.-

This section applies to registered nurses appointed under this chapter.

(b) 72/80 Work Schedule.-


(A) Subject to paragraph (2), if the Secretary determines it to be necessary in order to obtain or retain the services of registered nurses at any Department health-care facility, the Secretary may provide, in the case of nurses employed at such facility, that such nurses who work six regularly scheduled 12-hour tours of duty within a 14-day period shall be considered for all purposes to have worked a full 80-hour pay period.

(B) A nurse who works under the authority in subparagraph (A) shall be considered a 0.90 full-time equivalent employee in computing full-time equivalent employees for the purposes of determining compliance with personnel ceilings.

Specializes in ER, ICU, Prehospital.

Has anyone made any headway on in acting this work schedule in your unit? I am presenting to management my units desire for this schedule next week and would appreciate any help anyone can offer.

So far our argument to support such change include the following. Straight 12s would make scheduling much less of a headache. Improvement in retention and recruitment. Increase employee satisfaction. Increase in veteran continuity. of care. Less call outs as people are working 1 less shift every 2 weeks. We will be staffing the same number of beds with almost 2 less FTEs as each employee would now only count as 0.9 FTE. The VA will save money by not having to pay holiday to to those who are not actually working.

If if anyone can think of other benefits to either the staff or the VA I would appreciate your input. At least we have the opportunity to voice our request. I will update on our progress after I hear back from management.

Specializes in Cardiology.

When you say 72/80 does that mean one pay period is 72 hours and then the next is 80 hours?

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