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Night Shift Differential

Night Shift Differential 

Part of basic pay.  Night differential is part of a Federal Wage System (FWS) employee's basic pay.  Night shift differential means the differential paid to a FWS employee when the majority of regularly scheduled non-overtime hours worked fall between 3 p.m. and 8 a.m. local time, and is computed as a percentage of the employee's rate of basic pay. (Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 532.501).  Night shift differential is included in the rates of basic pay for FWS employees and is used as a basis for computing overtime pay, Sunday pay, holiday pay, and amounts of deductions for retirement and group life insurance.


Night shift differential rates.  A FWS employee is entitled to a night shift differential when the majority of hours worked during a regularly scheduled non-overtime shift occur in either of these two shifts (5 U.S.C. § 5343(f)):  

Shift Hours

Night Shift Differential

3 p.m. to midnight 7.5 percent differential
11 p.m. to 8 a.m. 10 percent differential


"Majority of hours" means a number of whole hours greater than one-half (including meal breaks), e.g., 5 hours of a scheduled 8-hour shift.  The night shift differential is paid for the entire shift when the majority of hours fall within the specified periods.


In computing night differential rate, any fraction of a cent must be counted as the next higher cent. 


Overtime and night shift differential.  When an employee who regularly works a night shift performs overtime work which extends into or falls entirely within a day shift, they are entitled to overtime pay computed on the night shift differential rate (5 CFR 532.503(d)(1).


When overtime is performed on a non-workday, the employee is entitled to receive overtime pay computed on the rate of the employee's last previous regularly scheduled shift (5 CFR 532.503(d)(2)). 


When an employee who is regularly assigned to a rotating schedule involving work on both day and night shifts performs overtime work which extends into or falls entirely within the succeeding shift, they are entitled to overtime pay computed on the rate of their regularly scheduled shift in effect for that calendar day (5 CFR 532.503(e)(1)).

When an employee regularly assigned to a rotating schedule performs work on a non-workday, they are entitled to overtime pay computed on the average rate of basic pay for all regularly scheduled shifts worked by the employee during the basic workweek (5 CFR 532.503(e)(2)).

Night shift differential temporary assignment to a different tour of duty.  An employee regularly assigned to a day shift who is temporarily assigned to a night shift must be paid a night shift differential.  


An employee regularly assigned to a night shift who is temporarily assigned to a day shift or to a night shift having a lower night shift differential (including a temporary detail for training purposes) shall continue to receive their regular night shift differential.  


An employee regularly assigned to a night shift, who is temporarily assigned to another night shift which has a higher differential, must be paid the higher differential if a majority of the employee's regularly scheduled non-overtime hours of work on the temporary shift fall within hours with the higher differential (5 CFR 532.505(d)).


Night shift differential and substituting an employee.  A FWS employee who renders occasional or irregular night service, as a substitute for another FWS employee on a regularly scheduled night shift, is entitled to night shift differential for non-overtime work. 


Night shift differential when on leave.  A FWS employee regularly assigned to a night shift will receive night shift differential for any period they are in a leave with pay status.  


An employee regularly assigned to a day shift who is temporarily assigned to a night shift shall be paid a night shift differential for any leave with pay taken when scheduled to work night shifts.

An employee regularly assigned to a rotating shift will be paid at the day rate during that portion of leave they are scheduled to work on a day shift and at the night shift rate during the portion of leave they are scheduled to work on a night shift.  

An employee who is changed irregularly from a day to a night shift will, while on leave with pay, be paid the shift rate assigned immediately prior to leave (5 CFR 532.505(e)).  

Night shift differential and part-time and intermittent employees.  A FWS employee who works on a regularly scheduled shift of less than 8 hours duration (such as a part-time or intermittent employee) is entitled to a night shift differential if a majority of the employee's hours are worked during a period in which a night shift differential is payable.


Recording hours for which a night shift differential is paid.  Night shift differential is payable in 15-minute increments rounded up to the nearest full quarter-hour; 8 or more minutes must be rounded up to the next quarter-hour, and less than 8 minutes will be considered part of the previous quarter-hour. 

 

Reviewed by OHRM, September 2020.

References: OPM Fact Sheet, “Night Shift Differential for Federal Wage System Employees”; 
5 CFR 532.501, 532.503, 532.505; 5 U.S.C. § 5343(f); OPM Federal Wage System Operating Manual - Appropriated Fund Subchapter S8 Pay Administration