Panama Schedule for 24/7 Shift Coverage

The Panana schedule is is a slow rotating shift pattern that uses 4 teams and two 12-hr shifts to provide 24/7 coverage. The working and non-working days follow this pattern: 2 days on, 2 days off, 3 days on, 2 days off, 2 days on, 3 days off. Each team works the same shift (day or night) for 28 days then switches over to the other shift for the next 28 days. After 56 days, the same sequence starts over.

Panama Shift Pattern

The Panama schedule is very popular in military and security service organizations in the United States and employees like it because they get every other weekend off and 3 days weekend as well. But transition between the day oriented circadian physiology and the requirement for work and sleep at the “wrong” biological time of day may cause sleep loss, fatigue, and shift work disorder.

When emergencies arise and an employee needs to take a few days off, it can be a challenge finding a replacement to ensure adequate shift coverage while taking into consideration time-off constraints, union, labor and overtime rules, employee availability, skills, preferences, etc.  Snap Schedule 365 employee scheduling software solves these challenges and help companies build smarter schedules, avoid unnecessary overtime, and always know who is working where and when.  Get your free trial now.  



Plan IDC4TR12-2
NamePanama Plan
Applicability24/7 operations
Teams Required4
ShiftsDay (12-hr), Night (12-hr)
Repeat Cycle56 days
RotationSlow rotation between day and night shifts
Average Hours per Week42
Staffing FluctuationBalanced from shift to shift and day to day
  • Every other weekend off
  • No night shifts for 28 consecutive days
  • Long shifts (12 hours)
  • Averaging only 26 weekend-off days per year
  • Requires an average of 2 overtime hours per employee per week
Common UsagePopular with military and security service organizations in the United States