An assessment of a days off decomposition approach to personnel scheduling

Sophie van Veldhoven, Gerhard F. Post, Egbert van der Veen, Tim Curtois

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This paper studies a two-phase decomposition approach to solve the personnel scheduling problem. The first phase creates a days off schedule, indicating working days and days off for each employee. The second phase assigns shifts to the working days in the days off schedule. This decomposition is motivated by the fact that personnel scheduling constraints are often divided in two categories: one specifies constraints on working days and days off, while the other specifies constraints on shift assignments. To assess the consequences of the decomposition approach, we apply it to public benchmark instances, and compare this to solving the personnel scheduling problem directly. In all steps we use mathematical programming. We also study the extension that includes night shifts in thefirst phase of the decomposition. We present a detailed results analysis, and analyze the effect of various instance parameters on the decompositions' results. In general, we observe that the decompositions significantly reduce the computation time, and that they produce good solutions for most instances.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Publication series

PublisherUniversity of Twente, Department of Applied Mathematics
ISSN (Print)1874-4850


  • Personnel scheduling
  • Decomposition
  • Mathematical programming
  • Days off scheduling


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