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Finding a FIFO Roster That’s Right For You

Posted: 26/06/2012 5:00:00 AM by AMMA Mining Oil and Gas Jobs
Filed under: Mining, Oil-and-gas, Job-seekers

Listen to any discussion about mining jobs or oil and gas careers and the topic of rosters is sure to come up. If you’ve never worked a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) job before, understanding how rosters are set up is a key part of your decision making progress. Here’s a quick explanation of FIFO rosters.

Rosters are determined by the employer. Different sites have different rosters. Rosters will also differ from employer to employer. As an employee, you won’t have much control over the roster as the entire operation depends on a cohesive schedule for everyone working on the site. The roster is also affected by transportation schedules - both airlines and busses.

Typical FIFO rosters

A typical FIFO roster in mining is 2:1 - two weeks on site then one week off. Another popular roster is 8:6 – eight days on site then six days off. Perhaps the most coveted rosters is 5:2 or 5:3 because it’s closest to a normal working schedule – five days on then two or three days off. Sites close to city areas and major airports often allow short rosters such as 2 days on, 2 days off.

It’s important to determine in your interview what length of time the numbers in a FIFO roster represent.
When speaking about an 8:6 roster, it usually means days. A 4:2 roster might refer to the number of weeks in the roster. Don’t be afraid to ask for a calendar showing the rosters to make sure you know exactly what is expected of you.

More remote mining sites may stipulate longer term rosters such as one month on and one month off. This helps alleviate costs due to the time and expense required to fly workers to and from the site. Many offshore jobs have a 3:3 roster – three weeks on followed by three weeks off. Perhaps the most popular rosters for remote and offshore work is the Norwegian roster – 3:3:3:6 – three weeks on, three weeks off, three weeks on then six weeks off.

FIFO considerations

FIFO workers are expected to work long shifts. A 12 or 13 hour shift is common. Shifts are scheduled 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Employees get one day off every 13th or 14th consecutive day of work. It’s also important to note you’re only paid for the days you’re on-site. If you’re off for two consecutive weeks or more, you may have to budget carefully for the times you’re not working.

For more information about the FIFO life, read our Fly-In, Fly-Out article in our Mining Lifestyle Guide.

Do you have any questions about FIFO rosters?

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