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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Police News  >  Pitman Schedule


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The Pitman Schedule
Police and Law Enforcement News
Sunday, November 10
, 2008 12:50 a.m.

We get a fair amount of emails asking about the Pitman Schedule, so we decided to put up a permanent page that will outline the basic tenets of the schedule.


The Pitman Schedule is the most commonly used 12-hour schedule in law enforcement today, and it is becoming more frequently used in the private sector as well.

It utilizes two 12-hour shifts and is designed for organizations that require around-the-clock labor.  Many employers have the shifts run from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. back to 7:00 a.m., but it can be run from any hour of the day.

An employee will generally work two-on, two-off; three-on, two-off; two-on, three-off.

The schedule works over a 14-day cycle and offers some nice benefits to employees.

In order to use the Pitman Schedule, the organization must be able to have four separate shifts or squads.   The squad could be just one person such as a dispatcher.

Below is a sample Pitman Schedule for a four-squad organization.  The 1's represent the first shift from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m..  The 2's represent the second shift from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.  The O's represent days off from work.


Sample Pitman Schedule

  S M T W T F S S M T W R F S
Squad 1 1 1 O O 1 1 1 O O 1 1 O O O
Squad 2 2 2 O O 2 2 2 O O 2 2 O O O
Squad 3 O O 1 1 O O O 1 1 O O 1 1 1
Squad 4 O O 2 2 O O O 2 2 O O 2 2 2

As you can see, it is a rather simple schedule.  As with any schedule, there are pro's and con's to the Pitman.

Advantages of the Pitman Schedule

  • Employees only work approximately 15 days per month or 182 days per year

  • Employees have a three-day weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) off every other week

  • The shorter workweek means more vacation time.  To have seven consecutive days off, an employee only needs to use two vacation days

  • Because the Pitman Schedule will result in 2,184 hours worked in a calendar year instead of the normal 2080 required work hours, employees will begin each year with approximately 104 personal or comp hours owed to them at the beginning of each year.  This comes out to just under nine more days off in addition to the contracted vacation, personal, sick and other leave

  • Many organizations report that sick time has gone down as a result of implementing the Pitman Schedule

  • Many organizations report improved employee morale as a result of implementing the Pitman Schedule

Disadvantages of the Pitman Schedule

  • 12-hour days are long work days
  • If the schedule is used with rotating shifts instead of permanent shifts, it can be strenuous on employees
  • May not be agreeable with older employees
  • Public transportation and day care (where applicable) can become an issue

The Pitman Schedule is radical departure from the traditional nine-to-five workweek.  Implementing such a schedule should be done with the employees and not as a surprise.  If done correctly, it can be one of those issues that makes just about everyone happy.
Police and Law Enforcement News
Sunday, November 10
, 2008 12:50 a.m.


Pitman Schedule

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