What is “clopening”?

On behalf of Fox & Fox, S.C.

Clopening is a neologism or new word used to describe when an employee works until close at night and then has to open the restaurant, store or business the next day. But this can present a challenge to workers. 

The reason for clopening

Many fast food restaurants have high employee turnover rates. This can mean a skeleton crew of a few trained and trusted workers. Managers feel forced to ask longer hours and shorter times between shifts of their staff. But this is not without consequence. 

Lack of sleep for clopening employees

While most people agree that gainful employment is a good thing, having to close and then open a few hours later does take a toll on a worker’s health and well-being. For example, if a worker has to work until close at 11PM and then has to reconcile the tills and clean and does not leave until close to midnight, that worker still has to get home. This can also take up to an hour if the worker is using public transport, which tends to run less frequently later at night. That worker may then have to be back at work for a 6AM shift. This leaves little or no time for sleep or for interaction with family if the worker is married or has children. 

Other health concerns clopening may cause

While most of the health concerns are anecdotal in nature there are common negative effects reported by overworked workers. These include: 

  • Impaired judgment, slowed response time
  • Mood disorders
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Family issues

State reactions to overworked workers

Some states have already made changes (such as New York) and some are still discussing changes to protect retail, fast food and other workers. In Wisconsin, restaurants have to follow Wisconsin state labor laws. If there are differing laws between the state and the federal government (the Federal Labor Standards Act or FLSA), the restaurant must follow the law that is most beneficial to the employee. 



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