Panama schedule - WorkTime

March 7, 2024

10 min read

What is a 2-2-3 schedule or Panama schedule, and how can you use it?

Is your company's work schedule clear to you and your staff? With so many different kinds of schedules, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks, it's not an easy issue. The profitability of your company and the satisfaction of your employees depend on your ability to choose the right staff scheduling arrangement. Whether you're in the business of full-time or part-time employment, a decent timetable will allow your employees to strike a good work-life balance. The alternate work schedule 2-2-3 has become popular recently among certain industries and employers. What is the nature of such a working approach, and what advantages and disadvantages does it have? This post will explain that companies, depending on their business activities, may want to establish the 2-2-3 work schedule for certain reasons. We’ll also let you know how you can manage your staff better with the help of employee monitoring software.

We have been providing non-intrusive tracking services suitable for any work schedule known as WorkTime employee monitoring software for over 20 years.

What is a Panama schedule?

The 2/2/3 schedule, a.k.a. The Panama work schedule is widely used in practice. This schedule can be presented in different versions, such as 2 days on the day shift, 2 days on the night shift, and 3 days off. Another example could be 2 workdays, 2 days off, 3 workdays, 2 days off, 2 workdays, 3 days off, etc. With a 2/2/3 schedule, the number of working days per month becomes uneven, and adhering to the established standard is not feasible. The accounting period can be set as a month, quarter, half-year, or a year. It is prohibited to establish an accounting period exceeding one year. You can use a time tracking software while working on the time intervals.

If your company plans to implement any schedule different from the standard one, we recommend applying WorkTime - a tool capable of tracking how and when employees work to prevent them from cheating.

What does the Panama schedule stand for?

The Panama shift schedule is based on the principle of alternating business days and days off. This system revolves around the concept of a "sliding" schedule, where an employee works for two consecutive days in each shift, followed by a rest day. Thus, all employees take turns working over two weeks, with every second day being a day off. The features of this work schedule include the option for both day and night shifts. Depending on the organization's specifics and working conditions, employees may choose whether to work during the day or at night. It's also important to note that compensation for nighttime work may be higher compared to daytime working hours. Both employees and organizations experience the pros and cons of the Panama shift schedule. Two primary advantages for employees include: 1. Having more free time for relaxation and personal matters 2. Being able to combine work with education or other interests On the downside, this schedule may be challenging for individuals who dislike changing their routines and may struggle with switching between "work" and "rest" modes every two days. Besides, some employers find it difficult to keep an eye on what their staff is doing when working according to the Panama schedule unless they use a special monitoring software.

With the WorkTime attendance monitoring system, you can effortlessly monitor, manage, and enhance your staff attendance whenever they work with a non-standard schedule.

What is the main difficulty with the Panama schedule?

If a specific employee's schedule differs from the generally accepted one at the enterprise, it must be explicitly outlined in their employment contract. It is advisable to specify the conceptual decision and the specific hours the employee will work, including lunch and other regulated breaks. When calculating a 2/2/3 schedule, there may be underwork in one week and overtime in another. The crucial point is ensuring compliance with the accounting period's total working hours standard. If the accounting period is set as a month, you can check the current year's norm in the production calendars or calculate it independently. Quarterly, semi-annual, and annual hours are determined by summing up the monthly figures. In a flexible working hours mode, individual employees or the entire team start and finish their work at different times. Employees may have working days and shifts of varying durations. A flexible schedule can be used to achieve greater efficiency from employees, enhance discipline, avoid crowding during lunch, and manage the influx of people at the beginning and end of the workday. The manager can establish a flexible work regime in the company but must adhere to certain rules. An individual schedule needs to be created for each employee with a 2/2/3 work schedule. With this schedule, the employee's days off do not coincide with the conventional weekends. The shift schedule 2/2/3 should be developed in advance and communicated to the employee no later than 1 month before its implementation. It is important not to design a 2/2/3 schedule with intentionally embedded overtime or undertime. The schedule can be approved on a monthly basis or for the entire calendar year.

To avoid problems associated with employee attendance and activity, choose WorkTime. It will let you know when certain individuals start to work, when they are active, what kind of software they use, etc.

Decide on the 2-2-3 schedule

The choice of the distribution of working days and days off in the 2/2/3 schedule affects the final scheme for creating an individual schedule. To prevent errors when creating the document and comply with all legal requirements, it is recommended to stick to the following rules:
  • Creating a 2/2/3 work schedule with predetermined overtime or undertime for the accounting period is prohibited.
  • Exceeding the weekly number of worked hours (more than 40 hours) is possible, but at the end of the month or another accounting period, the general standard must be observed. Normative values can be clarified in production calendars for the corresponding year. Exceeding the norm during the week is not considered overtime.
  • When using a 12-hour shift, monitor the number of shifts per month to avoid exceeding the norm.
  • Using advanced monitoring software to always be aware of how your staff behave and when they really operate.
  • Develop the schedule for the entire accounting period as established in the local regulatory act of the company: month, quarter, half-year, or year.
  • For convenience, create the shift schedule in the form of a table. On average, each employee may have 14 to 16 working days per month.

    How to create a work schedule

    Creating a work schedule requires consideration of various factors, such as the number of employees, employer requirements, legal regulations, and the peculiarities of the work organization. It is also important to consider the desires and needs of the employees to create comfortable working conditions.

    To create a work schedule, it is necessary to consider which days and times the work shifts will take place, which employees will work in shifts, and determine the duration of work shifts and breaks between them. It is also important to comply with legislative norms and requirements regarding working hours and rest.

    Here is a Panama schedule example. A widely accepted version of the 2 on 2 off shift work schedule is the 2-2-3 shift pattern, where employees work for two days, then have two days off, and then work for three consecutive days. Payments for shift and night work should be carried out per existing laws. Employee monitoring tools can help to avoid paying staff for nothing. In conclusion, the 2-2-3 shift pattern has its characteristics and advantages. Still, it requires careful management of working hours and consideration of the needs and desires of employees. Creating comfortable conditions and adhering to legislative requirements are important for a Panama schedule shift work.

    Features of the 2-2-3 schedule

    The 2-2-3 shift pattern is one variation of shift work in which employees alternate between working days and weekends. According to labor standards, a shift schedule must be approved by the organization and regulate the timing of work and leisure. Features of the 2 on 2 off shift work include 12-hour shifts and the balance between day and night shifts. The drawbacks of such a schedule involve the risk of disrupting the daily routine and experiencing issues with sleep and health. The legal framework regulates working conditions for employees on a shift schedule. Payment, additional days off, compensation for night work—all of these aspects are governed by legislation. Payment for shift work can vary between different industries and organizations, depending on agreements and provisions in the collective bargaining agreement. The employee can choose a shift schedule independently if the organization provides such an option.

    Shift work requires employees to adapt to different working conditions and modes. It is important to take into account both physical and mental health and take measures to maintain them during working hours.

    Peculiarities of night work

    Employees who work on a shift schedule choose shift work for various reasons. It can be favorable pay, advantages in choosing free days, or a preference for working at night. Making a shift work schedule is not as easy as working in shifts. When you choose a 2 in 2 shift work schedule, you get 2 shifts and 2 free days. Such schedules can be made for both daytime work and nighttime work. The main advantages of working on a shift schedule during the night are related to the characteristics of working during that time. The night promotes a quieter working process and less congestion in the organization's facilities. This allows employees to focus more on their work without distractions from other tasks. Additionally, night shifts usually come with increased pay, which is an advantage for many. Not to overpay, employers can implement software solutions to control what workers are actually doing. However, working during the night also has its drawbacks. The primary disadvantage is the disruption of the body's biological rhythm, as employees must adapt to regular sleeping hours during the daytime. Night work can also be associated with higher levels of stress and more challenging tasks. Moreover, workers may experience difficulties in their social life and family obligations due to the mismatch between their work schedule and the usual rhythm of life.

    Thus, working at night on a shift schedule has peculiarities and requires employees' adaptation. Despite the drawbacks, it also provides the opportunity to enjoy some benefits, such as increased pay and a quieter organizational environment.

    What are the benefits of the Panama shift schedule?

    Sequential rotation

    The 2-2-3 work schedule provides a predictable rotation, making it easier for employees to plan their personal lives in accordance with the work schedule.

    Weekends every second weekend

    Employees get a full weekend off every second weekend, which can be more advantageous than other rotation schedules that do not guarantee full weekends off.

    Extended breaks

    Every two to three working days, employees are given a two-day break. This can refresh and help reduce burnout. With a solution like WorkTime, employers can see when their employees are active, as well as check idle time not to cover it financially.

    Fewer shift transitions

    With a Panama 12 hour shift schedule, the number of shift transitions is fewer compared to an 8-hour shift. This can lead to fewer errors associated with shift handovers, especially in industries where continuity is crucial, such as healthcare or manufacturing.

    Longer working days, fewer working days

    Although 12-hour shifts are longer, employees work fewer days per week. This can result in fewer commutes and more consecutive days off, which some prefer.

    Full coverage

    For employers, the 2-2-3 schedule always ensures that someone is working, which is crucial for operations running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Reduction in overtime

    Thanks to a well-planned 2-2-3 work schedule, employers can reduce the need for unplanned overtime, as the schedule inherently covers all hours.

    Employee satisfaction

    Many employees appreciate longer breaks and a consistent schedule, increasing job satisfaction.

    Training and skill development

    With fewer shift transitions, there is more time for continuous learning and skill development during the shift.


    In some enterprises, a 12-hour shift can provide flexibility in managing peaks and troughs in workload. However, it's worth noting that the 2-2-3 work schedule also has its challenges. You may overcome some of them with the help of employee time tracking software.

    Long 12-hour shifts can be tiring, and not everyone can easily adapt to such lengthy working days. When considering the implementation of this schedule, it is important to weigh the advantages against the potential drawbacks.

    What are the challenges of the Panama shift?

    The 2 on 2 off shift schedule is one of the most popular shift work schedules. However, it has its drawbacks, and only some find it suitable. Employees on rotating shifts must adapt to this schedule, which may be challenging for some. One of the drawbacks of the 2-2-3 shift pattern is that not all employees choose it. Some workers prefer other shift patterns, such as 2/2/3 or a "sliding" schedule. The payment for the 2 on 2 off work schedule is regulated in the legal framework and slightly differs from other schedules. Employees working in shifts may find the 2 on 2 off schedule compensation less advantageous than other shift patterns. Employers, in their turn, can control this issue using staff monitoring software.

    Another drawback of the 2 on 2 off shift schedule is the specific challenges of working on the night shift. Night work can impact the health of employees as it disrupts natural circadian rhythms and may pose safety concerns.

    Ways to arrange and implement a 2-2-3 schedule: best practices

    The advantages of a 2 on 2 off shift work schedule include the opportunity to work in shifts, allowing for an even distribution of workload, and additional compensation for night shifts, which may be higher. Moreover, such a schedule provides more free time and flexibility in planning personal matters and leisure activities.

    Adequate breaks

    Provide employees with regular breaks during their shifts. This includes both short breaks for rest and longer breaks for meals.

    Ergonomic workspaces

    Design workspaces that minimize physical strain. This includes ergonomic chairs, adjustable desks, proper lighting, and other tools that make work easier and more comfortable.

    Healthy eating and snacks

    Offer nutritious meals and snacks in the workplace. This can help maintain energy levels and prevent fatigue.

    Hydration stations

    Ensure the availability of clean drinking water. Maintaining hydration is crucial, especially during long shifts.


    Conduct training on the importance of sleep, nutrition, and self-care. Educate employees on how to cope with the demands of long shifts.

    Flexible scheduling

    If possible, allow some flexibility in the start and end hours. This can help employees balance personal and work commitments.

    Rotate various tasks or roles for employees during shifts to avoid monotony and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

    Supportive management

    Managers should be trained to recognize signs of fatigue or burnout and offer support when needed. Open lines of communication can help resolve any problems promptly. You may use WorTime to engage and motivate employees better.

    Mental health resources

    Offer resources or programs that support mental well-being, such as counseling services or stress reduction activities.

    Rest areas

    Create quiet, comfortable areas where employees can relax during breaks. This can be especially helpful for those who perform duties with high-stress levels.

    Feedback mechanism

    Get regular feedback from employees on the schedule and working conditions. This can help identify areas for improvement.

    Shift handover

    Ensure a structured and effective process for transferring tasks between shifts. This can reduce the risk of errors and ensure continuity.

    Safety protocols

    Emphasize the importance of safety, especially in positions where fatigue can lead to accidents. Regular safety training and reminders can help.

    Recognition and rewards

    Acknowledge and reward employees for their hard work and dedication. This can boost morale and motivation.

    Health and wellness programs

    Offer programs that promote physical well-being, such as gym memberships, health check-ups, or wellness seminars.

    Child care services

    Consider providing services or support for childcare, especially for employees who may find it challenging to manage childcare during long shifts.


    For shifts that end late at night or start early in the morning, consider providing transportation or transportation allowances.

    By implementing these strategies, employers can create a more supportive environment for employees working 12-hour shifts on a 2-2-3 schedule, resulting in increased employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

    Another question is, who actually implements this type of schedule?

    Which organizations work by the 2-2-3 schedule?

    A shift work schedule is a feature of rotational work in which an employee works during specific periods of time and rests during others. What organizations choose such a schedule, and how does it work? Firstly, many enterprises related to production and services for the population use a shift work schedule. These can be manufacturing plants, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, and other organizations that operate around the clock or have extended working hours. Secondly, organizations seeking to optimize working hours and adapt to various customer needs also choose shift work schedules. Such a schedule allows for an even workload distribution, ensuring continuous operation.

    No matter which industry you’re involved in, should it be IT, finance, or education, benefit from the features of our software. WorkTime assists with managing staff and enhancing productivity, no matter which type of schedule your company sticks to.

    Bottom line

    The main advantages of a shift work schedule include payment according to norms, the opportunity to choose a convenient work schedule, and compliance with legislative regulations regarding night work. The benefits of such a schedule include a more flexible working regime, time for rest and personal matters, as well as a variety of tasks and interactions. However, shift work has its drawbacks. One is the alternation between day and night work, which can impact employees' health. Additionally, not everyone can easily adapt to an irregular schedule and changing working conditions. As a result, organizations choose shift work schedules based on their needs and business characteristics. This may be the need to work around-the-clock, ensure continuity of work, or adapt to customers' needs. It is important to keep in mind that shift work schedules have both advantages and disadvantages, and each employee should evaluate how willing they are to work according to such a schedule. Need help managing attendance, software usage, activity/idle time, internet usage, and more? Wish to improve staff motivation and engagement? Our solution is easy to use — try 14 days for free now!

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