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What is shift differential pay?

Throughout your life, you have likely been inundated with the idea that the typical workday begins by punching the clock at 9:00 am and calling it quits around 5:00 pm. Indeed, this is what most might consider to be a standard workday. Yet your job in Kansas City may require you to work odd hours, such as during the evening or even a graveyard shift. While it may be possible to adapt your daily schedule to accommodate such a work shift, it is also recognized that working such hours can take a physical and emotional toll on you. 

Just how might a non-traditional work shift impact you? It can make it difficult to accomplish certain tasks that are typically reserved for outside of standard working hours. It might also put strain on your relationships with others, as socializing can be difficult when they are working and you are off (or vice versa). Finally, it can also lead to health concerns due to a lack off typical rest (which is particularly true when you are asked to work a graveyard shift). 

To compensate you for working odd hours, employers will often offer a shift differential. This is a higher hourly rate compared to those who work during the day. You might have been led to believe that companies must offer differential pay if they ask their employees to work odd hours, yet this is not the case. Per the U.S. Department of Labor, it is left up to companies to choose to offer such a benefit to employees. 

However, if the promise of differential pay has been given (or implied) to you as a benefit of your employment, an employer cannot then cite its lack of a legal obligation to provide it as a reason for not fulfilling that promise. 

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