The survey of Tennessee Department of Correction employees has found that 82 percent of survey respondents are negatively impacted by the calculation of their overtime under the 28-day work period. Another 71 percent indicated they are negatively impacted by the ability to flex overtime instead of receiving overtime pay.
However, overall figures for the central question of which work schedule employees prefer were mixed with 55 percent indicating they prefer the current 8.5/9 hour shift assignment with 6 days on and 3 days off, and 45 percent who prefer to move to a 12 hour shift assignment with an alternating mix of a 3 days on 2 days off schedule rotation. At the department’s request, the survey did not include an option for a return to a 40-hour work week. 19 respondents skipped this question.
These are some of the findings of the TDOC Work Schedule Survey administered over the first two weeks of December, 2015. The survey is an effort to gather employee input as the department considers making changes to employees work schedules based on the recommendations of a September audit by the American Correctional Association. TSEA initiated the idea of a staff survey to help give TDOC employees a voice over their future. TDOC agreed with the idea of a survey and, after additional encouragement from the Senate, partnered with TSEA to distribute the survey to 3060 correctional series employees.
“The results of this survey show that the Department of Correction has much work to do with regard to employee overtime pay and work schedules,” said TSEA President Bryan Merritt. “And, while the results for work schedule preference are mixed, we believe there would have been overwhelming support for a return to a 40-hour work week if that option was included in the survey. We are thankful to the Senate for encouraging Commissioner Schofield to work with TSEA on the survey; however, we wish the survey could have been a bit more extensive. TSEA will likely conduct an independent survey in the near future.”
When asked by TSEA during a November interview about the decision to omit from the survey an option to return to the 40-hour work week, TDOC Commissioner Derrick Schofield said, “It goes to the fundamental purpose of why we shifted, and some of the reasons we shifted. We were looking at things to bring back shift briefings, a schedule that would facilitate shift briefings, rotating days off for staff, and a recruitment enhancement tool that we wanted to utilize. I think going back to the 40-hour work week takes away all three of those.”
Fifty-six percent of survey respondents indicated they were positively impacted by the new shift briefings and increased communication.
Department wide, 836 employees participated in the survey for a response rate of 27 percent.
To download a copy of the survey results, CLICK HERE.
To access a copy of the survey questions, CLICK HERE.
The full TSEA interview with Commissioner Schofield was printed in TSEA’s November/December publication, the Co-Worker.