Gender and Working Time in Industrialised Countries

Gender and Working Time in Industrialised Countries

Colette Fagan Sociology, School of Social Sciences Roscoe Building University of Manchester Manchester M13 9PL, UK tel: 44-161-275-2512 Gender and Working Time in Industrialised Countries Prepared for the Working Time and Work Organisation Team (WTWO) at the International Institute for Labour Studies, ILO Colette Fagan Published in: Messenger, J. (eds.) (2004) Working Time and Workers’ preferences in Industrialized Countries: Finding the balance, Routldeg, Institute for Labour Studies of the International Labour Organisation series


Introduction Working-time arrangements in industrialised countries are changing along a number of dimensions. Some of these changes have been emerging for a number of decades, such as the expansion of part-time work, while others are more recent developments, such as the lengthening of the working week in some parts of the economy (see Bosch 1999, Evans et al. 2001 and Lee, this volume). The main forces driving these changes are enterprises' requirements for more flexible modes of work organisation to enhance their efficiency in the context of economic restructuring and globalization. However, there is another, subsidiary pressure in play from the labour supply.

Some workers are seeking out part-time or even 'unsocial' schedules such as night or weekend work in order to combine employment with other time-consuming activities - such as women raising children, or young people participating in education. In contrast, some other groups of workers take jobs where very long hours or 'overworking' are the norm, perhaps in exchange for higher earnings.

The gender implications associated with these working time developments are twofold. Firstly, the restructuring of working-time practices has occurred in parallel with a growing involvement of women in employment when they are raising children. Among couples the traditional 'male breadwinner' arrangement that was common in many industrialised countries is being eroded by the rise of 'dual-earner' households, and in addition a growing proportion of women are raising children in lone-parent households. The established gender division of labour in society is that women do most of the domestic work and put more time into care work than men, and this gender arrangement tends to channel women into working-time arrangements that fit with their domestic commitments.

The most notable example is part-time work, but in some countries it is also common for certain groups of mothers with young children to opt for evening and weekend schedules. In contrast, few men reduce their working hours to take on care responsibilities (Fagan 2001a).

The second, related issue is that gender segregation is a persistent feature of the labour market despite the growing presence of women in the workforce (Anker 1998, Fagan and Burchell 2002, Rubery et al. 1999). This segregation is associated with different working-time schedules, such that women undertake most of the part-time work while 'overworking' is mostly found in the male-dominated job areas. Most of the part-time jobs are concentrated in the lower paid and lower status service jobs, and the opportunities to work part-time in many managerial and professional areas are limited (O'Reilly and Fagan 1998).

Conversely, many of these higher status white-collar jobs are currently organised in ways that are generally incompatible with the time demands of family life due to the long hours or type of flexible hours required. Thus, the 1

working-time schedules associated with different jobs can operate to reinforce gender segregation. Very long hours or 'overworking' is one of the barriers to women's entry to some male-dominated job areas and reinforces men's lack of time involvement in their parental roles. In other parts of the economy the working-time policies adopted by enterprises may mean that the only jobs open to women are part-time, particularly those with few labour market alternatives. For example, in the UK, part-time jobs with very short 'marginal' hours predominate in many female-dominated manual service jobs, such as cleaning or retail.

So in this country the opportunities for women to obtain full-time work may be limited unless they have sufficient qualifications to enter higher occupational levels or are willing and able to enter male-dominated manual jobs. Thus large proportions of women may be under-employed in part- time jobs because of a lack of full-time alternatives.

The diversification of working-time practices - and perhaps workers' working-time preferences - in conjunction with the general trends of collective bargaining decentralisation and declining coverage are creating new challenges for how working-time standards are defined and established. Historically, state intervention and collective bargaining in relation to working time has centred upon full-time, daytime and weekday work schedules as the reference point of 'standard hours' (Bosch et al. 1994, Bosch 1999). Shorter full-time hours and compensation for 'unsocial' hours (evenings, nights, week-ends and rotating shifts) have been the focus for regulations, followed in more recent decades by measures to guarantee equal treatment for part- timers.

Similarly, this 'full-time standard' has also been the reference point for the development of national social protection systems, and it is only recently that the importance of protecting periods of part-time work have begun to be accommodated in welfare state policies. The aim in this chapter is to analyse the gender differentials in working-time arrangements and to assess the policy implications, with a particular focus on the issue of 'work-family' reconciliation or co-ordination. In section 2 the current pattern of working-time arrangements are compared by gender and occupational position along the dimensions of the volume, schedule and autonomy.

Some national comparisons are also drawn. Working-time preferences and the 'work-family' compatibility of work schedules are considered in section 3. Section 4 discusses the policy implications, and conclusions are drawn in section 5. 2. Gender and the component elements of working-time The established gender division of labour in society, including gender segregation within employment, produces gender differentiated working-time arrangements. To evaluate the extent and form of gender differences in working-time it is helpful to distinguish between the different dimensions of working-time, particularly the volume, schedule, and type of variability (Fagan 2001b).

The notion of 'working-time flexibility' must also be clarified. Employers' interests in 2

working-time flexibility for operational requirements are usually quite distinct from employees' interests in obtaining more flexibility in the organisation of their working time so as to make it more compatible with other parts of their lives. Employees may want working-time arrangements that accommodate a variety of activities - as well as rest and leisure time - including care responsibilities (children, elders, the domestic work of running a home), education or other time-consuming undertakings (political and civic commitments, small-scale self-employment, sporting or creative pursuits).

Given this diversity in circumstances it is plausible that one working-time arrangement may suit some people but not others. For example, some mothers of young children in the UK opt for evening or weekend work to fit in with their domestic arrangements if their partner or other family members are available to look after children during these periods; while others may find it difficult or impossible to organise childcare in order to go to work during these periods.

Purcell et al. (1999) make a pertinent distinction between 'unstructured' and 'structured' flexibility, to which we can add the concept of 'autonomous flexibility'. 'Unstructured flexibility' occurs when employees have little control over the schedule and often the volume of hours that they work. This may result from explicit contractual arrangements with their employer, in annualised or zero-hour contracts for example, or in more informal workplace expectations such as overtime as and when necessary, or the 'long hours cultures' of many professional and managerial occupations. 'Structured flexibility' is found in working-time arrangements that are predictable but 'non-standard', such as regular part-time schedules or rotating shifts.

Such arrangements offer employees more control than 'unstructured flexibility' in the sense of predictable, regular and delineated patterns of work. Structured 'non standard' schedules also offer labour market alternatives for people who are unable or unwilling to work 'standard' hours. The concept of 'autonomous flexibility' identifies those forms of working-time flexibility that are geared to employees' needs rather than organisational requirements in the sense that these arrangements give employees some ability to vary or alter their working-time in order to accommodate other activities.

Examples include formal flexitime or 'time banking' systems; contractual rights to switch between full-time and part-time hours; and extended leave entitlements such as parental leave.1 2.1 The volume of weekly working hours The gender gap in employment rates has fallen in recent years, however, men still commit more time to paid work than do women, whether measured over the day, week, year or lifetime. Conversely, gender inequality in the division of unpaid labour persists, for women commit more time to childcare and unpaid domestic work. There is a slow process of 'lagged adaptation' 3

underway, whereby men's relative contribution to childcare and domestic work has increased across recent generations in response to women's rising time commitment to employment (Gershuny et al. 1994, Gershuny 2000). To date, this adaptation of the gender division of labour is still very limited. For example, in couple households with a child aged less than five years old and where both adults are employed full-time, on average mothers spend just over twice as much time on childcare and other domestic work as fathers (OECD 2001)2 . However, multivariate analysis shows that men's relative contribution increases according to the number of hours the women devotes to employment in some European countries, which suggests that a reduction in the gender working hours gap would facilitate a more gender equal domestic division of labour (Anxo et al.


Table 1 and Figure 1 illustrates this gender difference in employment with a comparison of the volume of usual weekly hours worked by employed men and women in selected industrialised countries. Usual weekly working hours are important to consider given the regular time- demands of domestic life and hence 'work-family' reconciliation debates (for an international comparison of annual working hours see Evans et al. 2001 and Lee, chapter 2 this volume).3 The dispersal of working hours is also relevant, for a polarization of working hours seems through an expansion of very short and very long work weeks seems to be emerging in some countries, such as Australia, the US and Canada (Australian Bureau of Statistics 1999, Golden and Figart 2000, Wong and Picot 2001).

Table 1 near here Figure 1 near here In every country the profile for men is dominated by full-time hours. In contrast, employed women are more likely to work part-time or shorter full-time hours, and tend to have a more dispersed range of working hours than do men. The analysis also demonstrates national differences in the volume of weekly working hours, most notably in the rates of part-time work for women and, particularly among men, the proportion with very long full-time working hours. A substantial number of studies have shown that international differences in working hours are also found where more precise comparisons are made according to type of sector or occupation (e.g..

Anxo and O'Reilly 2000, Bosch et al. 1994 and 1997, Bosch and Lehndorff forthcoming, 1 Some arrangements for employees to do some or all of their work from home may also be included under 'autonomous flexibility' in the sense that working from home can offer temporal as well as spatial flexibility. 2 The inequality in the gender division of domestic labour is more pronounced when viewed from a societal rather than a two-adult household perspective because a growing proportion of child raising is located in female-headed lone parent households, and men's contribution to the unpaid work in these households is minimal.


Boulin and Hoffman 1999, Golden and Figart 2000, Rubery et al. 1998 and 1999). This body of research has demonstrated that these national differences result from different institutional arrangements that impact on how working-time is organised (see also Lee, chapter 2 this volume). A key factor is the different statutory regulations and collective agreements on working-time. The structure of employers' non-wage labour costs also has a bearing. For example, hours or earnings thresholds in the structure of employers' social security contributions can encourage employers to create 'short hour' part-time jobs to reduce these costs, while per capita rather than hourly-related costs create fixed costs that can deter the use of part-time contracts.

Other institutional differences also play a role through their influence on labour supply, including wage levels and differentials, the structure of personal taxation, incentives or barriers to part-time work in the unemployment support system, and the availability and opening hours of childcare; the latter of which mainly impacts on maternal labour supply. These institutional frameworks influence the decisions and negotiations of employers and the workforce at the organizational level, where additional more specific sector and regional conditions affect the particular working-time policies and innovations that develop.

Long working hours remain prevalent, particularly for men, in many countries. This is despite the substantial reductions that were achieved over the last century, largely driven by collective negotiations and legislation. In some countries this downward trend continues, for example in France where the 35-hour week has been introduced by legislation. Substantial reductions have also been achieved in some other countries, including Denmark, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands and Japan since the 1980s (see Lee, chapter 2 this volume). However, the incidence of long hours of work among full-timers has risen in some countries, most notably in the UK, the US and Australia (Bosch 1999, Evans et al.

2001, Lee this volume). A 48-hour upper-limit to weekly hours has been established in the European Union's Working-Time Directive, and regulations in most member states establish a more stringent limit on weekly hours (see McCann, chapter 1 this volume). If we use this 48-hour threshold as one possible indicator of 'overworking'4 then Figure 1 shows that the incidence of very long weekly hours tends to be higher in the non-EU countries shown (Japan, the US, Australia, New Zealand) compared to the overall figure for the EU member states. However, within the EU there are still around one in five employed men work hours at or in excess of this 48-hour limit, as are 9% of employed women, with the incidence of long working hours particularly prevalent for men in Ireland, Greece and the UK and for women in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

(see Lee, chapter 2 this volume for additional discussion of excessive hours of work). Men's working hours are shortest 3 A gender breakdown of annual working hours is available from Table 6b of the ILO's volume (2002) Key Indicators of the Labour Market.

4 This 48-hour threshold has been adopted from the Working-Time Directive for illustrative purposes only, and it might be appropriate to define 'overworking' using a lower threshold. Certainly this threshold was a matter of debate 5

in France, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands (averages are between 37-40 per week). More than 60% of employed men have usual weekly hours in the 35-39 hour range in France, as do around half of the employed men in Denmark and Belgium5 . In France there has been a shift towards the lower end of the 35-39 hour category in line with the statutory reduction of the working week from 39 to 35 hours.

Long working hours are less prevalent for women, but again there are national differences in average working hours, associated with the different rates of part-time work and 'overworking'.

Part-time employment has increased in recent decades in most industrialised countries, stabilising or declining only in some countries where comparatively high rates have been reached (O'Reilly and Fagan 1998). Part-time hours can be defined using various thresholds6 , although it should be noted that in a few countries, such as Japan, the concept of part-time work is not tied to the volume of work undertaken but to the lower status of the worker within the firm (Houseman and Osawa 1998). In relation to working hours it is useful to distinguish between those jobs with 'marginal' or 'short' part-time hours (defined here as less than 20 hours per week) and those with longer or 'substantial' part-time hours (defined here as 20-34 hours per week), with some of the latter category working only a few hours less than some full-timers.

This distinction is important for measuring the volume of hours worked, it is also important in some labour law or social protection systems where a specific hour threshold is used to define 'marginal' part-timers with fewer entitlements, for example in Germany (European Commission 1999). As Lee argues in chapter 2 of this volume, there is also some evidence that in some countries short part-time hours are also marginal on the dimension of a poorer job quality relative to that of substantial part-time arrangements.

Most part-timers are women. The rate of part-time work for women varies markedly between countries, for example a full-time working week of 35 hours or more is much more common for employed women in the US, Finland, Portugal and Spain than in the other countries shown. Taking 'short' and 'substantial' part-time hours together, The Netherlands has the highest rate of female part-time work by a long distance, followed by the UK, Australia, Sweden, and Denmark.7 Both short part-time (less than 20) and more substantial part-time hours are common in the Netherlands, the UK and Australia. The incidence of short part-time hours is rising rapidly in some other countries, notably Germany, Japan, Australia and Ireland (Lee, table 2, chapter 2 this volume).

Elsewhere women's part-time work tends to be organised around longer among governments, trade unions and employers' associations in the European negotiations on the Working-Time Directive.

5 A similar pattern is found in Norway (see Fagan 2001a). 6 The hour threshold used in official statistics, labour law and collective agreements vary between countries and sometimes within countries. A 30-hour threshold encompasses most forms of part-time work in many countries, while a 35-hour threshold prevails in some others, such as Sweden and the US. 7 Part-time work is also common for women in a number of other industrialised countries not shown here, including Norway and New Zealand. 6

weekly working hours (20-34). Some women with weekly working hours in the 20-34 hour range have full-time rather than part-time contracts, for example many of the women working these hours in Greece and Italy are full-time public sector workers working less than 35 hours a week.

Rates of part-time work have risen for men in recent years but it is still rare in most countries and is usually concentrated on students and those approaching retirement (Delsen 1998). Again, The Netherlands leads the way, where one fifth of employed men now work less than 35 hours a week, and where part-time work for men has spread into the core working years. Hence a large part of the explanation for the gender differential in the volume of weekly hours is the greater propensity of women to work part-time. Many select part-time work because they have care responsibilities. For example, around two thirds of women and one third of men working part-time in the European Union report that they do not want full-time jobs (European Commission 2000, table 38).

Most of the women in the EU who have selected part-time work have done so because they have children or other domestic commitments, as have one third of the minority of men who have selected part-time work (Fagan 2001a, table 39). The rate of part- time work in the USA is lower than that found in many European countries, but again women are more likely to work part-time than men, and here around one in five part-timers have selected this working arrangement due to childcare problems or family obligations8 . The decision to take part-time work for family reasons is influenced by the range of alternative work-family reconciliation measures available.

For some it is the preferred option selected from a range of alternative forms of childcare or working arrangements, for other it is tightly constrained decision or 'notional choice', particularly if they live in places where childcare services are limited, expensive or socially unacceptable.

Other reasons for working part-time should not be overlooked. In particular 'involuntary' part- time work – where full-time hours are preferred but unavailable – vary markedly for both sexes between countries, ranging from less than 10% of part-timers in the USA, the UK, the Netherlands and Norway to at least one in five in Sweden, France, Spain, Greece and Portugal (see Lee, figure 6 chapter 2 this volume). The majority of involuntary part-time workers are women, although in some countries the rate of involuntary part-time work is higher among the small proportion of men employed part-time.

The proportion of part-timers who are students also varies markedly between countries, with particularly large proportions of the part-time workforce being students in Denmark (35%), Finland (28%) the US and Ireland (19% in each). In each country men working part-time are much more likely to be students than are women in part-time jobs.

Another reason for the gender differential in the volume of working hours is gender segregation, whereby the working-time requirements often vary between 'male-dominated' and 'female- 7

dominated' areas of employment. These working-time differences between jobs are due to operational requirements plus labour supply considerations, and they play a role in perpetuating gender segregation in employment. For example, part-time work has often been created explicitly to recruit or retain women (Beechey and Perkins 1987, Horrell and Rubery 1991), while the requirement to work long hours in particular jobs such as management help to preserve this area of employment as a largely male enclave (Wajcman 1998).

More men than women are also self-employed - although the female share is increasing in a number of countries, particularly in the US - and self-employed men typically work longer hours than employees, particularly the self-employed with their own employees (Fagan and Burchell, 2002).

Job differences in usual weekly hours of work are illustrated in table 2, using occupational data from a recent survey of the EU member states9 . Men in management and in skilled agricultural and fishery jobs work the longest hours, while the shortest average hours for men are in clerical work and elementary occupations. The incidence of very long hours is also high for professionals and service and shop workers, where about one quarter of employed men usually work 48 or more hours per week, but these occupations also include a relatively high proportion of men working part-time. Overall, men are most likely to work less than 35 hours a week if they are in professional, service and shop work, elementary, or skilled agricultural work.

Compared to men, women work shorter hours within each occupational group, but there are marked differences between women according to their occupational position. Women work particularly long hours if they are in the male-dominated area of managerial work or agricultural work. Marginal part-time hours are most prevalent among women employed in elementary, service and shop work. The female-dominated occupation of clerical work offers the least exposure to either short part-time or long hours of work for both sexes. Table 2 near here As we shall see later in this chapter, working-time preference data shows that both 'overworking' and 'short' part-time work are unpopular among the workforce.

8 Derived from Current Population Statistics for 2001 (Household data, table 20), US Bureau of Labor Statistics (

9 The European Foundation for Living and Working Conditions 'The European Working Conditions Survey – 2000' is a representative survey of the 15 EU member states. The sample size was approximately 1500 in each country; the data reported here for the EU-15 have been adjusted for country size. See (Merllié and Paoli 2001) for further information including a discussion of the sample design and weighting. I have compared the volume of working hours recorded for each country in the European Working Conditions Survey with the results obtained in the larger sample of the European Labour Force Survey (European Commission 2000), and the results for both surveys are very similar.


2.2 The schedule of hours Working-time schedules have become more diverse in industrialised countries in recent decades, associated with changing work practices including the spread of the '24/7 economy'. The proportion of the workforce with schedules that include evening, night or weekend work, or variable hours has increased in most industrialised countries, albeit slowly in Australia and some European countries over the 1990s (Australian Bureau of Statistics 1999, Evans et al. 2001). Similarly, in the US there has been little change in the incidence of many types of schedules over the last decade (US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2002), but in the last thirty years pronounced changes have occurred, particularly with a decline in the five-day week and an expansion in seven-day working (Figart and Golden 2000).

The type of schedules worked is illustrated with data for the EU and USA in tables 3 and 4. Around one third of the European workforce have what can be defined as the traditional 'standard' schedule of daytime, weekday work without long daily hours (defined as people who said they never worked 10 hours or more per day). Another 8% work daytime, weekdays but with some or regular long days (including 2% who worked at least 6 long days a month). Weekend work, long days and shifts are prevalent. Over one third have daytime schedules that include some or regular weekend work: 17% with long days and 19% without long days.

Eighteen per cent work either rotating shift schedules or permanent nights. A small minority of 6% work some 'twilight' evenings and nights without working either 'long days' or rotating shift schedules.

There are some gender differences in work schedules in the EU. A larger proportion of women's employment is organised into daytime work – including weekends – with no long days. Schedules with long days or some weekend work are more common for men. However, there is no gender difference in the incidence of regular weekend work (21% of each sex), rotating shifts (18%), or scheduled evening/night hours (6%). The higher rate of part-time work among women accounts for most of the gender difference in work schedules. Part-timers rarely work long days of 10 hours or more, but they are roughly twice as likely as full-timers to work 'twilight' evening and night slots, and only slightly less likely to work week-ends or rotating shifts.

Part-timers are disproportionately involved in these non-standard schedules relative to full-timers in some European countries, indicating the influence of national working-time regimes on how part- timers are used to cover different working hours (Rubery et al. 1998). Table 3 near here There are also clear job-related differences in work schedules. The 'standard' working day (daytime, weekday, no long days) is most common for clerical workers, covering 45% of men 9

and 60% of women employed in this occupation. Weekend work without long days feature most for men employed in service and sales work (26%), agriculture (22%) and elementary occupations (22%); for women it is particularly prevalent in service and sales work (37%) and the incidence for women exceeds that of men for each occupational group except clerical work where there is no gender difference. Daytime work that includes weekends and long days is particularly found among managers and skilled agricultural workers of both sexes and male professionals. The incidence of rotating shifts or permanent nights for men is highest for operatives (40% of men and 36% of women), service and sales work (27% of men and 24% of women), men in elementary occupations (25%) and women who are associate professionals (26%), many of whom are nurses and other health professions.

The data for work schedules in the US (table 4) are not directly comparable with that for the EU because they only relate to full-time workers (35 hours or more per week) and different definitions of schedules were used in the survey, in particular no distinction is made between daytime work on weekdays versus week-ends (see the table notes). But there are parallels with the picture for the EU. First, there is little gender difference between full-timers in the incidence of schedules that fall outside of 'regular daytime' hours (defined as anytime between 6am and 6pm any days during the week).

It is also of note that mothers of young children employed full- time in the US undertake a similar range of work schedules to those of men and other women employed full-time. Second, the job-related differences are pronounced, with the lowest incidence of 'regular daytime' schedules found among full-time workers in service, operating and transport jobs. Other data from the same survey enhance the picture of daily schedules worked by the US workforce. While 85% state they have a 'regular daytime' schedule, in practice work schedules encroach into the early morning or the end of the day for many.

In total 30% of full-timers are at work by 730am, 19% do not usually finish work until after 6pm and 15% can not specify a 'usual' finishing time because their work hours are so variable (US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2001, derived from table 7). A similar pattern of encroaching work hours is found in Australia, where one third of the workforce have work patterns that fall outside daytime hours (6am-6pm) (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1999). Table 4 near here The precise shape of these gender and job-related differences in work schedules vary between countries, for example in the extent and type of part-time work schedules, long hours working or shift patterns.

The key points here are, firstly, that in every country while men undertake most of the long working hours and women work shorter hours, both sexes are involved in a diverse range of work schedules encompassing week-end, evening, night and shift work. 10

Secondly, that these work schedules are more prevalent in some occupational groups than in others. Where there is some diversity in the range of work schedules available within similar types of employment – for example where nurses can choose between different shift patterns, or where secretaries can find either part-time or full-time jobs in the labour market – then there are more options open to the workforce. This can help to increase the labour market integration of groups with other demands on their time, such as mothers with young children. However, sector and company studies show that a diverse range of work schedules provides only a limited form of integration unless accompanied by other measures.

For example, Perrons' (1999) comparative study of retail in Europe showed that part-timers had fewer promotion prospects than those working standard full-time schedules and that where schedules were subject to unpredictable changes instigated by the employer than this undermined any 'compatibility' the schedules had for domestic responsibilities.

2.3 Working-time autonomy and variability Public debate is increasing about the need for more extensive 'work-family' reconciliation policies to alleviate the difficulties that many employees face when managing the demands of their jobs with the time-demands of family responsibilities. This reconciliation is likely to be facilitated for those workers who have some influence or control over when they work, or, as we discussed above, what can be termed 'autonomous flexibility'. A number of aspects of working- time contribute to enhancing workers' autonomous flexibility, including the degree of influence they have over when they take their annual leave, entitlements to other forms of leave (maternity, parental, etc.) or working-time adjustments, such as the right to work part-time for a specified period.

Here the focus is upon the particular issue of whether workers are able to influence their start and finishing times.

Formal flexitime systems are an important mechanism under which workers are able to vary their start and finish times within agreed time zones around a 'core working hours' period in which they must be present. A target number of working hours must be achieved with a predetermined period, but workers are allowed to carry deficits or bank surpluses within certain ranges. Surplus hours can be used to take full or half days off as 'time off in lieu', although this is usually conditional on the agreement of supervisors.10 These systems were first introduced in the 1960s and 1970s and are most widespread among white-collar workers, particularly clerical and administrative occupations (Bosch 1997).

'Time banking' schemes extend the flexitime principle to permit hours to vary to a greater degree over a longer settlement period, and while 10 For example, the core period might be 10-1600 hours with a two-hour zone either side in which workers are free to decide when to start and finish. The permitted surplus or deficit might be 20 hours over a four-week period, and surplus hours can be 'cashed in' for additional half or full days off with the agreement of the supervisor. 11

many are geared largely to employers' needs as part of annualised hours contracts, some time banking schemes increase autonomous flexibility for employees. In recent years a number of such schemes have been negotiated in Europe, particularly in Germany, Italy and Sweden, in a variety of sectors including metalwork, chemicals and banking (EIROnline 2001). Where flexitime is absent informal flexible hours arrangements may operate between supervisors and some workers, for example to retain key workers by accommodating specific family-related demands. Flexible hours are also a feature of some managerial, professional and craft occupations, where the incumbents largely self-determine their own start and finish hours in order to complete their workloads.

Both flexitime and informal flexible arrangements are easiest to implement in jobs where many of the tasks can be completed independently of the working patterns of other colleagues and where only a small part of the working-time involves being available for direct contact with customers or other external service users. Finally, the other side of the coin is whether workers have variable start and finish times that are largely controlled by their employers' requirements for them to work overtime or variable schedules. Statistical indicators of flexible working schedules for both the EU countries and the USA indicate that the differentiation is more pronounced by occupational status, rather than gender per se (tables 5 and 6).

In the EU, 23% of the workforce has some type of formal or informal arrangement for flexible working hours in which they are able to vary their start and finish times (table 5). Another one in five (21%) state that they work fixed hours and have some control over this arrangement. The remaining two thirds have their hours set by their employers, including 11% who work variable hours arrangements. Men are slightly more likely to vary their own start and finish hours, while women are slightly more likely to work fixed hours set by their employer. The data for the US are collected using a different question format and so are not directly comparable, but here 30% of men and 27% of women employed full-time have some form of flexible schedule, which includes 11% of the full-time workforce with a formal flexitime programme (table 6).

This follows a marked expansion in the incidence of flexible schedules in the US over the 1990s (Golden 2000). Perhaps surprisingly, in the EU there are only negligible differences between women full-timers and part-timers in patterns of flexible schedules at this aggregate level of analysis. However, for the US Golden (2000) has shown that those who usually work very long full-time hours (50 or more) or part-time hours have more ability to vary or change their start and finish times than workers with standard full-time hours. He concludes that US workers can only obtain flexible hours if they opt-out of standard full- time hours.

Tables 5 and 6 near here 12

Turning to occupational differences, in the EU, managerial and skilled agricultural workers are the most likely to work variable hours that they set themselves (Both of these occupations encompass the majority of the self-employed, but this pattern also holds for employees). Conversely, those employed in craft, operative or elementary jobs are the most likely to be working hours that are set by their employers, whether on a fixed or variable basis. The data for the USA is not directly comparable, but again occupational differences are pronounced, with flexible schedules being most prevalent among full-timers in managerial and professional grades, sales and personal services.

Both the European and the US data show that once occupational position is taken into account, the main gender differences is that among professionals and technical grades - as well as in sales in the United States - women have lower rates of flexible schedules. This gender difference among professionals is probably associated with segregated employment positions, whereby more women professionals are in the lower grades and in health, education and other 'person contact' work in which hours are more tightly scheduled to meet service requirements, than other professional areas such as IT or engineering.

A recent review by the OECD (2001) concludes that there is less national variation in the incidence of flexitime than in a number of other 'family-friendly' working-time arrangements in firms. In general, the highest levels of flexitime are found in Australia11 and the US, exceeding those found in most EU countries, while in comparison Japan ranks among the lowest. Furthermore, Bosch (1997) argues that the flexitime arrangements that exist in Japan are scarcely used because they run counter to establish organisational work cultures in which absence and lateness are severely penalised (see Takagi 1993); in contrast the flexitime systems that exist in Europe, North America and Australia are generally widely used and popular with the workforce.

For example, the US may have one of the highest coverage rates for flexitime systems, but Golden (2000) argues that surveys regularly show that many more of the workforce would like this arrangement.

3. Working-time preferences and work-family compatibility In this section we consider men and women's evaluations of their current working-time arrangements using data on their working-time preferences and their assessments of the 'work- family' compatibility of their work schedules. This type of information provides an indication of how people feel about their current working-time arrangements, and provides some insight into the kind of policy developments that they would like. Of course, such evaluations do not provide accurate predictions of how people would behave in some future situation, for competing priorities, constraints and other considerations will also influence labour supply 11 In 2000, 38% of all employees reported that they were able to work extra hours to take time off, an increase from 34% in 1993 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2002).


decisions. In particular, when real wages are falling, or employment is becoming more insecure people may be less willing to reduce their working hours than in more positive economic conditions. A recent survey of the EU-15 and Norway revealed that nearly two in three employed persons would prefer to work a different amount of hours to their present arrangement12 . Half (51%) would prefer to reduce their hours, whether traded for lower current earnings or against future pay rises13 . Another 12% would like to work longer hours. The available time series suggest that the proportion of the European workforce that would like working-time reductions has increased since the mid-1980s, even in those countries where reductions have been achieved (Lehndorff 2000).

Estimates made by Jacobs and Gerson (2000) suggest a broadly similar picture for the US, although a slightly higher proportion of the US workforce wants to increase their hours. They calculate that nearly half of Americans would prefer shorter working hours, 90% of which want to work at least 5 hours fewer a week, while 17% would prefer to work longer hours. Bell and Freeman (1995) also found that more Americans than Europeans wanted to work longer hours. They argue that the very dispersed income distribution in the US provides the financial pressure that drives Americans to work long hours.

This is echoed by Bluestone and Rose's (2000) conclusion that falling real wages in the US means that many families are 'running harder' to maintain their standard of living.

In contrast, the available data suggest that a smaller proportion of the Australian and Japanese workforces would prefer to adjust their hours although such comparisons must be treated cautiously since measures of preferences are sensitive to differences in questionnaire design. In Australia, a government survey in 2000 indicated that 7% of all employees would prefer to work fewer hours and 21% would prefer more hours (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002). However, according to a national survey by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), 79% of employees want a limit set on weekly working hours, in the context that many of them are experiencing increasing workloads and a negative impact of working hours on their family life (ACTU, 2003).

In Japan 25% of employed men and 20% of employed women would like to reduce their hours of work (including stopping work), while only 7% of employed men and 8% of employed women would like to work longer hours (including taking on another job).14 In Japan, as in the US, financial pressures to meet housing costs and maintain purchasing power 12 The 1998 'Employment Options Survey' was commissioned by the European Foundation for Living and Working Conditions and the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Labour. It is a representative survey of 30,000 people aged 16-64 years covering the 15 EU member states and Norway.

For further details see the technical report of the fieldwork co- ordinators (Intratest Burke Sozialforschung 1998), or Fagan (2001a, appendix A.1). 13 The analysis was derived from two open-ended questions: 'In total, how many hours per week do you work at present – on average?' (Question 55) and 'Provided that you (and your partner) could make a free choice so far as working hours are concerned and taking into account the need to earn a living how many hours per week would you prefer to work at present?' (Question 56).

14 Derived from the Employment Status Survey 2001, table 5, from the Statistics Bureau and Statistics Center, Japan ( 14

dampen preferences for working-time reductions, yet at the same time a high proportion of the Japanese workforce are dissatisfied with the balance of their time between employment and leisure (Seifert 1994). The European data show that employed men are even more likely to want to reduce their hours than are employed women, conversely women are more likely to be under-employed and to want to increase their hours (table 7).

Overall, employed men are slightly more likely to have a preference to adjust their hours than employed women. This is partly because men are more likely to be working long hours, as we discuss next. It is also because having young children increases women's propensity to exit employment and one reason for this is that they have been unable to obtain working-time arrangements that are compatible with their care responsibilities (Rubery et al. 1999).

Table 7. near here Preferences for adjustments to hours are clearly related to current hours of work. Very few full- timers want to work longer hours, and the proportion that wants to reduce their hours rises with the number of hours worked. Part-timers, particularly those in short hour jobs (20 or less) are the most likely to want to work more hours. The under-employment of these part-timers indicates that many of these jobs are designed primarily to meet employers' requirements rather than labour supply preferences. The minority of men who work less than 35 hours a week are even more likely to want to increase their hours than are women with these working hours, while among those working longer hours women are even more likely to want to reduce their hours than are men.

The amount of adjustment that most people want to make is substantial, particularly when considered as a proportion of their current volume of work. Overall, there is a general tendency to prefer to exit the extremes of very short or very long hours of work and move into the middle ground of substantial part-time/short full-time hours in the 20-39 hour range. Some employed men and women who currently occupy this middle ground do want to move, but mainly switching between short full-time and part-time hours. Similarly in the US and Australia the preference is to exit the extremes of very short and very long working weeks (Jacobs and Gerson 2000, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002).

The net picture in the EU is that on average employed men would prefer a 37-hour week and employed women a 30-hour week; an average reduction of 6 hours and 3.5 hours respectively (table 8). The standard deviation indicates that the spread of preferences around this average is 15

wide for both sexes15 , however it is clear that the general picture is that more of the employed would like to work short full-time or substantial part-time hours than currently do so. On average, 'job seekers'16 have similar working-time preferences to the employed. If working-time preferences were realised in the labour market then the average gender, occupational and national differences in the volume of hours worked would be reduced (Fagan 2001).

Table 8. near here Multivariate analysis showed that the current volume of hours worked was the most significant factor influencing working-time preferences in Europe (Fagan 2001). Once hours were controlled for, then among full-timers men were more likely to want to reduce their hours if they were a manager, highly educated (well-paid) or approaching retirement. Fatherhood had no significant influence on working-time preferences. For women full-timers, the significant circumstances other than the volume of hours were having a young child or being a manager. Once hours were controlled for, then women working part-time were more likely to want to increase their hours if they had older or no children to care for, or were in low-income households.

There is also substantial latent demand among full-timers for working-time reductions through a move into part-time work in the EU-15 and Norway: 23% of employed women and 19% of employed men currently work full-time and would prefer to work part-time, as would 38% of all job seekers. This latent demand for part-time work varied nationally, but is influenced by more factors than just the current availability of part-time work. For example the demand for opportunities to work part-time was relatively low both in some countries where this form of employment is relatively under-developed (e.g.

the Southern European countries) and in some countries where part-time work is already well established (e.g. Sweden). Full-timers wanted to work part-time in order to have more time for children and other domestic activities, for personal activities and to reduce the strains of working; in other words reasons similar to those given by those who do work part-time (see section 2.1 above). Women were more likely to mention childcare, but so did a large minority of the men. All full-timers, regardless of their preferences for part-time work, perceived similar barriers to part-time work. The most commonly mentioned barriers were lack of opportunities for part-time work with their employer and career penalties, followed by inferior social protection entitlements and financial considerations (Fagan 2001).

15 The standard deviation indicates that approximately two thirds of both populations fall within the range of plus or minus 10 hours; that is 27-47 hours for employed men and 20-40 hours for employed women. 16 These were defined in the survey as all those who were not employed but would like a job now or within five years. Taken together, the employed plus 'job seekers' encompassed 90% of all working-age men and 80% of all working-age women in the sample. 16

Clearly one of the reasons why people may prefer to adjust their working-time is to improve the fit between the time-demands of their jobs and those associated with family and other commitments outside of employment.

Table 10 explores this question using people's answers in a European survey17 that asked 'in general, do your working hours fit in with your family or social commitments outside work very well, fairly well or not at all well?' It should be noted that when 'satisfaction' questions such as these are asked in surveys they typically produce positive responses. These positive assessments should not be read simply at face value. More probing explorations about satisfaction in qualitative studies enable people to make more considered and nuanced assessments that reveal higher levels of dissatisfaction (e.g.

Burchell et al. 2002). Furthermore, respondents may consider that their work schedule is compatible with family life because it has been selected strategically in the context of having to arrange particular forms of childcare, or in relation to other considerations such as the work schedules of their partners, or because they have curtailed activities to accommodate their work schedules. If there was a change in their situation or their expectations about what 'compatible' standards are, for example due to changes in childcare services, then it might be expected that the types of schedules assessed as 'compatible' would also change.

Detailed and qualitative interviews would be necessary to obtain more considered opinions and to explore what people mean by 'compatibility' and what it is about their hours and other commitments that do or do not produce this sense of 'compatibility'. Nonetheless, survey data provides some useful indications that have the advantage of permitting comparisons of the responses associated with various working conditions and domestic situations.

The more time that is allocated to employment, the less there is available for other activities, hence full-timers are more likely to judge that their working arrangements a poor fit with other commitments than are part-timers (table 9). A similar pattern is found when people are asked about their satisfaction with the time they have for family and leisure pursuits rather than 'compatibility' (Fagan 1996). This sense of incompatibility and dissatisfaction becomes more pronounced the longer the hours worked for both sexes, although what men and women mean when they say their hours are incompatible or unsatisfactory is likely to be different and coloured by the gendered division of care responsibilities in the home.

Table 9. near here The schedule as well as the volume affects the compatibility of working hours. On one hand, work schedules that spill into the evening, night and weekends can be considered disruptive to family life in that they present co-ordination difficulties with the daily schedules of raising children or creating shared 'family time'. On the other hand, such schedules may offer 17 The European Foundation for Living and Working Conditions 'The European Working Conditions Survey – 17

alternative opportunities for the co-ordination of employment with family life. Men and women who work at least 35 hours a week are least likely to judge their work schedules to be compatible if they work long days or weekends on a regular basis, or some weekends in conjunction with long days, or evenings, nights or rotating shifts (table 9). Conversely, daytime, weekday work without long days is the most compatible; although the inclusion of some week- end work or some long days only raises the incompatibility score by a few percentage points. Higher levels of work intensity also reduce the sense of 'compatibility'.

Women who work less than 35 hours a week are the least likely to report a 'poor fit' for each schedule, demonstrating that the compatibility of working arrangements depend upon the volume as well as the schedule of hours.

Variable start and finish times are less compatible than fixed ones, particularly when the variation is set by the employer; but also when workers vary their own start and finish times. This seems paradoxical, for when workers have some autonomy to organise their working hours this might be expected to make their jobs more compatible with other activities. The explanation is likely to be found in the nature of the job, for this autonomy may be associated with a managerial or professional job that requires a commitment of long hours and thus the ability to influence start and finish times may provide insignificant relief from the other working-time demands of the job.

This issue is returned to below.

Some workers do find 'non-standard' schedules to be compatible with their other commitments, for example one quarter of men and women working rotating shifts report that this fits in very well with their other commitments. However, this rate of compatibility is much lower than that reported by non-shiftworkers. So it seems that the working-time elements that contribute to a greater sense of work-family compatibility are regular, daytime schedules without long days; in other words the 'standard working week' that has been the benchmark of industrial relations since the earliest negotiations about regulations.

Yet this is in tension with many of the schedules that are being introduced to provide companies with more flexibility to cover variable or extended operating requirements.

Multivariate analysis shows that long working hours, 'unsocial' schedules (long days or working during the evening/night) and high work intensity each have an independent, negative effect on men's and women's assessment of the degree of compatibility of their working-time arrangements with their family and social life (Fagan and Burchell 2002). Of these three dimensions of working-time, working ‘unsocial’ schedules (that involve evenings, nights or long days) had the most negative impact. Working-time autonomy offers some respite, but this is relatively weak compared with the negative effect of working unsocial or long hours.

Gender 2000', see footnote 6.


and occupational status are insignificant factors once the actual details of working hours and schedules are taken into account (Fagan and Burchell, 2002). 18 4. Working-time policies to promote gender equality and 'work-life balance' The preceding analysis has demonstrated the gender differences in working-time patterns in industrialised countries, particularly in the volume of hours worked, but also in the type of schedule and the degree of autonomy in relation to these schedules. Yet there are also gender similarities, for example a shared preference to avoid or exit the extremes of very long or very short hours of work.

Job-related differences are often more pronounced than gender differences, for example the work schedules of women working in the male-dominated echelons of management are quite different to those of women in manual jobs. This suggests that particular working-time arrangements, such as long hours or unpredictable schedules, may contribute to the process of gender segregation in employment by creating barriers to occupational entry or progression for those with care responsibilities.

On the basis of this analysis working-time policy must address five related objectives if it is to contribute to the promotion of gender equality in employment and 'work-life balance' (see Figure 2). The first objective is to reduce working-time barriers to labour market participation and so contribute to raising women's employment rate. The second objective is to address any particular working-time obstacles to women's entry to management and other male-dominated activities, thus contributing to the reduction of segregation, and particularly vertical segregation. Both of these objectives are about increasing women's labour market integration, and the third has a more ambitious vision: to develop working-time arrangements that improve the quality of the reconciliation of employment and family responsibilities and 'work-life balance' more broadly.

The fourth objective underpins the preceding three, and is concerned with developing equal treatment between full-time and part-time workers, including opportunities to make transitions between full-time and part-time hours at different life stages. The final objective focuses upon adapting men's working-time patterns and increase their time involvement in parenting and other care activities and hence contribute to reforming the gender division of labour in households. The rest of this section discusses the policy elements that have the potential to meet these objectives, which are also summarised in Figure 2.

18 As well as having negative effects on the issue of 'work-family' compatibility, working arrangements that involve long hours, unsocial schedules or intense workloads also increase the incidence of work-related illness, independent from the effects of other working conditions (Fagan and Burchell, 2002). Australian studies have also shown that having to work more hours than preferred, and a lack of influence over start and finish times were both independently associated with higher rates of job-related stress (reported in Evans et al. 2001). 19

Figure 2 near here a) Collective regulation to curtail long full-time hours or 'overworking' Long full-time hours are widespread in many countries, yet they are unpopular with most of the workforce and make it difficult to put time into raising children or other time-consuming commitments. Regulations to curb long full-time hours in favour of more moderate arrangements have a key role to play to promote work-life balance, alongside that of health and safety (discussed further in Chapter 6). Yet, it is also the case that while a general reduction sets an important upper limit on the workplace demands that can be made on peoples' time, it is too blunt a tool to resolve the complexity of work-life balance on its own.

Rather, it is a foundation to support the efficacy of other measures tailored to accommodate the changing care responsibilities of workers at different stages in their lives (which are discussed later). A particular issue is how to regulate the long hours culture that is often associated with the 'self- determined' working patterns of a growing number of managers and new professions who largely fall beyond the scope of traditional working-time regulations. The long hours in these occupations make it difficult for women with care responsibilities to advance, and hence reinforces gender segregation.

Furthermore, this form of 'unspecified' working time may be spreading to other groups of workers as employers seek more flexibility from their workforce to meet ever-tighter deadlines, for example in the 'new economy' firms. Some of these workers might feasibly be regulated through extending the coverage of existing collective agreements and legislation, but for others new 'accounting currencies' (Bosch 1999) and new workplace mechanisms of monitoring and regulating workloads will be needed. This might include using time-budgeting methods to measure the required input for particular tasks in conjunction with incentives and targets for line managers to re-organise work methods and to replace the 'long hours culture' with 'smart working'.

For example, external consultants have been used in US companies such as the Marriott hotels chain and the high-technology Xerox Corporation. They worked with managers to identify and remove time-wasting procedures, to create more productive structures in the working day, and to shift the work culture to focus on tasks accomplished rather than hours worked (Fletcher and Rapoport 1996, Munck 2001). For some groups it might also be more feasible to regulate the number of days worked rather than the volume of hours. This is the route taken in French legislation, although the French managerial union (CFE-CGC) argues that maximum weekly working hours should still be set for managers (IDS 2002).

Where collective working-time reductions are accompanied by the introduction of more non- standard or variable work schedules, for example in some annualised arrangements, then this may introduce negative impacts on work-family compatibility that partly reduce the gains 20

obtained due to working-time reduction. This is because weekly hours may be a more important reference period for workers with the routines and timetables of domestic life with young children or elder relatives, yet such considerations may be less pressing for workers without such responsibilities.

Workplace consultation can help to mitigate this, but only if the interests of those with care responsibilities are represented. In some areas of employment the 'insiders' may be predominately male, or young and childless and hence may agree to working-time arrangements that contribute to the exclusion of those with care responsibilities from the workplace.

b) Increase the opportunities for good quality, part-time work Part-time work is one means of reconciling employment with other activities. In particular 'substantial' rather than 'marginal' part-time hours are popular among the workforce. The key issue is that the quality of part-time work must be enhanced if it is to be used to promote gender equality (OECD 1994, 2001, O'Reilly and Fagan 1998). Equal treatment regulations in employment, non-wage benefits and social protection systems help to improve the conditions of part-time work. This regulation has recently been strengthened in law across the EU through the adoption of the 1997 Part-time Work Directive19 .

However, the coverage below certain hour thresholds is still poor in some EU countries, while in some non-EU countries, such as Japan and the US, unequal treatment is widespread and part- timers receive comparatively few benefits. In Australia part-timers have fared well historically but their situation is set to deteriorate with the decentralisation of collective bargaining (OECD 2001, Baxter 1998, Houseman and Osawa 1998). It is also necessary to desegregate part-time work by increasing opportunities to work 'substantial' part-time hours in a wider range of jobs. Under these conditions underemployment plus the loss of earnings and career advancement associated with part-time work is reduced, and part-time workers become integrated alongside full-timers in the workplace and the wider employment hierarchy (O'Reilly and Fagan 1998).

Fiscal reform may be needed to remove cost incentives that favour the creation of marginal over substantial part-time working hours, perhaps in conjunction with regulations to establish minimum hour thresholds. One way of promoting opportunities for part-time work in a wider range of jobs is through disseminating 'good practice' examples in order to reduce information and design costs. Another mechanism is to 19 The Part-time Work Directive (97/81/EC, 15th December 1997) introduces equal treatment for part-timers on a pro rata basis with comparable full-time workers doing 'similar work' into Community Law.

It also recommends that action should be taken by employers to facilitate part-time work at all levels in the establishment, including giving due consideration to requests by employees to switch from full-time to part-time work, or vice versa (it does not establish a right to request such working-time adjustments). It also recommends that member States take action to adapt social security systems to accommodate part-time work. The equal treatment principle is also established in the ILO's Part-Time Work Convention 1994 (no.175), where Article 7 states that 'Measures shall be taken to ensure that part-time workers receive conditions equivalent to those of comparable full-time workers…' 21

introduce employee entitlements to request reduced hours in their current jobs as part of work- family reconciliation measures, with the right to resume full-time hours in a later period. To date, mobility from part-time into full-time work is rare in most countries, with the exception of Sweden (O'Reilly et al. 2000, Evans et al. 2001) where this entitlement is built into the parental leave legislation, discussed below. c) Improve the reconciliation of employment and family responsibilities and 'work-life balance' In nearly every OECD country there has been an extension of statutory entitlements to maternity, paternity and parental leave in recent years, childcare services have also expanded and some countries have introduced new family leave arrangements to accommodate the care of sick children or other relatives (OECD 2001, Moss and Deven 1999).

However, marked national differences still exist, and in general the most comprehensive packages are provided in the Nordic countries while the lowest level of statutory provision is generally found in neo-liberal countries such as the UK and the US, and in Japan. Recent comparative studies of industrialised countries show that statutory entitlements are important, for in their absence voluntary provision by companies is limited and uneven (Arrowsmith and Sisson 2001, den Dulk 2001, OECD 2001).

Individual entitlements to work reduced full-time or part-time hours, and to increase hours once more at a later stage, enhance the autonomous flexibility of employees by enabling them to adjust their hours without moving jobs. Also, this type of policy has the potential to contribute to a more general diversification of the range of jobs available on a part-time basis (see b above) by introducing a 'learning' catalyst for companies. This option has existed for many years in the Swedish parental leave system. New legislation in the Netherlands has established the right for employees to reduce their hours to part-time, unless the employer can demonstrate that this is not viable for business reasons.

The right to request part-time hours has also been introduced into law in some other European countries, such as the UK, but in a diluted form that allows employers' more grounds for refusing such requests. Other 'autonomous flexibility' arrangements also contribute to the reconciliation of employment and family responsibilities, including flexitime and time-banking schemes, and opportunities to work from home. However, care-related entitlements to extended leave or other working-time adjustments often have a low take-up rate, particularly when the policy is not underpinned by a statutory entitlement.

This occurs when such policies are 'symbolic statements' that are undermined by conflicting workplace norms and practices (Lewis 1997). Such obstacles include a workplace culture that treats long working hours as a measure of productivity and organisational commitment and hence necessary for job security or promotion, and where the use of alternative working-time arrangements are opposed by line managers or are poorly implemented and incur 22

resentment from colleagues because of the negative impact on their workloads. So to ensure that reconciliation measures are legitimated and used in organisations a number of supporting measures are necessary. Such measures are also pertinent to the particular problem that take-up rates are systematically much lower for men than women, and so are discussed in the next section. Another issue is that being able to fulfil care responsibilities requires energy as well as time. Yet work intensity appears to be increasing due to a combination of new information technologies and production methods and organisational reliance on 'leaner' workforces (Dhondt 1998, Gallie et al.

1998, Green and McIntosh 2000). The proportion of the workforce working at high speed increased in Europe over the 1990s, and the gender difference eroded as women 'caught up' with men (Fagan and Burchell 2002), and work intensity has also risen in the USA and Australia (Bond et al. 1998, reported in Evans 2001, ACTU 2003). As discussed earlier, intense workloads, non-standard schedules and unpredictable variations in working hours each decrease the compatibility of employment with family life, as well as increasing work-related illnesses (see section 3 above). Hence, these developments are a concern for policy for reasons of both health and safety and work-family reconciliation.

d) Include specific incentives targeted at men to improve their use of 'family reconciliation' measures Very few men switch to part-time work or take parental leave when they are parents. It is important that reconciliation measures incorporate elements that address the organisational and attitudinal obstacles that deter male take-up. If more men are encouraged to make these changes it will contribute to changes in the gender division of labour within the household, and in workplaces it will help to legitimate and 'normalise' the use of these measures instead of marginalizing those mothers who make working-time adjustments (see c above).

Statutory entitlements improve take-up rates for both sexes, as does a reasonably high earnings- replacement rate for extended maternity or parental leave (Moss and Deven 1999, OECD 2001). Additional features which encourage men to use such measures are a non-transferable 'daddy quota' of leave and flexible options as to when and how the leave is taken, plus promotional campaigns and target setting. Here, the Swedish parental leave system is a good example. It is a flexible system which allows parents to take leave full-time or to continue working part-time, supported by a generous income replacement rate, and since early 2002 a non-transferable 'daddy quota' of two months leave has been introduced.

This quota has improved male take-up.20 20 In addition some Swedish companies (e.g. Ericsson, Statoil, ABB, Telia) have introduced supplementary financial assistance to reduce the negative impact of the social insurance income ceiling on the parental leave income replacement rate for those wage earners who are above the threshold (often the men) (personal communication from D. Anxo).


Additional initiatives are required in workplaces to legitimate and promote the use of reconciliation measures by men as well as women, particularly in male-dominated workplaces which have had less exposure to such measures compared to many female-dominated workplaces. These initiatives include promotional campaigns and consultation with the workforce in conjunction with training and the dissemination of good practice examples for those line managers and team leaders charged with implementing reconciliation measures. Targets and incentives for appropriate line managers to improve take-up rates could be developed to monitor and improve the situation, extending the application of established tools for measuring other aspects of organisational performance such as sales or health and safety records.

Some companies with progressive personnel policies already use targets to measure and improve their performance in relation to the recruitment and promotion of women and other under-represented groups, for example the voluntary business initiative 'Opportunity Now' in the UK21 . A similar procedure could be developed where organisations audit the care responsibilities of their male and female workforce, revise their work-family policy in light of this audit and promote it in the organisation, and set targets for take-up of these policies for each sex designated to the appropriate level of management.

In other words, a new organisational norm has to be developed, whereby the use of family reconciliation measures is positively valued and encouraged for both men and women. A number of social actors have a role to play in making this normative shift, including the state, trade unions and employers' organisations. Finally, reducing gender inequality in employment is also needed as a basis for increasing men’s time involvement in care responsibilities. The gender division of labour is more equal in couples where the woman has high earnings and qualifications that place her on a more equal economic footing with her partner, although normative attitudes towards the gender division of labour are also influential (Gerhsuny et al.

1994, Moss and Deven 1999). 5. Conclusions The 'male breadwinner' division of employment and domestic responsibility structures women's employment, particularly for mothers with young children. In most industrialised countries women have a lower employment rate than men, and when employed generally work shorter hours in the context of doing most of the unpaid care and domestic work in society. In this chapter we have also seen that average gender differences are often less pronounced that job- related differences. For example, both men and women are involved in a diverse range of working-time schedules in the labour market, working-time autonomy is limited for many workers of either sex, and rates of work intensity are similar.

Both sexes share a preference to 21 See for further details. 24

exit or avoid very long or short hours of work and there are similarities in the type of schedules that they identify as being most compatible with family life and other commitments. In recent years women’s employment rates have risen, but this has been concentrated on the better-educated, producing polarisation among women. From a labour market perspective, improving work-family reconciliation measures will raise women's employment rates and make better use of their skills in employment, will further progress towards gender equity, will raise the financial resources of households, and will help address low fertility rates which are exacerbating the projected shortfalls in labour supply as the working age population shrinks (OECD 2001).

From a broader perspective on social integration and citizenship, work-family reconciliation measures are needed so that people have time available to develop and maintain social ties, networks and communities.

This chapter has discussed the type of working-time conditions that can promote gender equality and provide the basis for improving 'work-life balance'. Currently, part-time work and many of 'work-family' reconciliation policies are gendered for they rest upon women's subordinate economic position and are disproportionately used by women. Such developments have facilitated women's entry into employment but to date appear largely to reinforce the gender division of labour, albeit in a new form. An optimistic scenario is that over time – perhaps across generations - such policies may provide the platform for a more radical transformation of the gender arrangement.

For example it appears that in Sweden and Denmark part-time work served as a transitional mechanism to integrate women into employment and that for subsequent generations part-time work has declined in favour of full-time employment for women. However, other policy interventions are required to speed up and ensure this process of change towards gender equality in economic resources and care work. In particular, action is needed to establish new workplace practices, whereby it is acceptable and positively valued for employees of either sex to adjust their working-time to accommodate family responsibilities, and for working arrangements in general to be made more 'family compatible'.

This will make it easier for women to enter and progress in male-dominated areas of employment, and it will also provide a basis on which to get men more involved in childcare and other household tasks.

Moss (1996, p23) argues that work-family reconciliation must be seen as a dynamic process in which '… Equilibrium that equally meets the needs and interest of all parties is unobtainable yet constantly sought through a process of debate, review, negotiation and conflict'. Intervention is thus required through a range of mechanisms and a variety of social actors. Statutory regulatory frameworks on working-time through labour law, as well as in social protection and fiscal policy are crucially important. Additional supporting measures are required in workplaces for work-family reconciliation measures to be legitimated, developed and used.


This includes information and promotional campaigns covering individual rights, the development and dissemination of ‘best practice’ across workplaces, and the negotiation of extra-statutory measures. Finally, state support to extend child and elder care services are a key piece of the ‘work-family’ reconciliation jigsaw. In sum, working-time reform, including work-family reconciliation, has to be integrated into debates about the modernisation of work organisation. The development of ‘gender mainstreaming’ may help to achieve this by stimulating the integration of gender equity issues into the design of all employment standards, including working-time (Rubery 2002).

Acknowledgements Many of the survey data for the European Union presented in this chapter are from the 'European Working Conditions' and 'Employment Options' surveys of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. I am grateful to the Foundation for permitting me to use these data for my analysis. The calculations and interpretation based on these surveys remain my responsibility. I would also like to thank my colleagues Hugo Figueiredo and Mark Smith, of the European Work and Employment Research Centre, UMIST, for assisting me with additional data collection.

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Figure 1. The incidence of long weekly working hours in selected industrialised countries 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden United Kingdom EU-15 Australia New Zealand United States Japan % of employed who usually work 48+ hours Men Women All Mean weekly hours Men Women All Austria 41 35 38 Belgium 40 33 37 Denmark 39 33 36 Finland 41 36 39 France 40 34 37 Germany 41 32 37 Greece 45 40 43 Ireland 42 33 38 Italy 41 35 39 Netherlands 37 25 32 Portugal 42 38 40 Spain 42 37 40 Sweden 39 34 37 United Kingdom 43 31 38 EU-15 41 33 38 Notes: The data for the EU countries are from the European Labour Force Survey 2001.

The US data are for 49+ hours and are from Current Population Statistics (CPS) from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics ( The Japanese data are for 49+ hours and are from the Labour Force Survey, table 5, from the Statistics Bureau Japan ( The data for Australia are from the 1999 Social Trends Report, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics ( The data for New Zealand are for employees only, working 50 or more hours, from Figure 5, Lee this volume. Source: The European Labour Force Survey – 2001 (special analysis), the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Statistics Bureau Japan, and Lee, this volume, as detailed in the notes above.


Table 1. The usual weekly hours of work of the employed by gender in selected industrialised countries Row % distribution of weekly working hours1 1 to 19 20 to 34 35 to 39 40+ EU countries Austria Men 1 3 31 66 Women 7 25 21 47 M&W 4 13 26 57 Belgium Men 2 6 49 43 Women 15 27 38 20 M&W 8 15 44 33 Denmark Men 7 5 50 38 Women 11 26 49 14 M&W 9 15 50 27 Finland Men 4 7 28 61 Women 7 15 51 27 M&W 5 11 39 45 France Men 2 6 63 29 Women 9 25 50 16 M&W 5 15 57 23 Germany Men 3 3 38 56 Women 18 23 30 30 M&W 9 12 35 44 Greece Men 1 7 8 85 Women 3 16 10 71 M&W 2 10 9 80 Ireland Men 3 6 37 54 Women 13 26 40 22 M&W 7 15 38 40 Italy Men 3 4 19 74 Women 8 21 24 47 M&W 5 11 21 64 Luxembourg Men * 1 3 95 Women 8 27 6 59 M&W 4 13 4 80 Netherlands Men 10 10 32 48 Women 34 37 16 13 M&W 20 22 25 33 Portugal Men 2 6 12 81 Women 6 14 20 61 M&W 4 9 15 72 Spain Men 1 3 9 87 Women 7 16 16 62 M&W 3 8 12 77 Sweden Men 4 7 12 77 Women 7 29 17 47 M&W 5 18 15 62 UK Men 5 6 20 69 Women 23 25 24 28 M&W 13 15 22 51 32

Selected non-European Australia Men 11 12 15 62 Women 29 23 16 31 M&W 19 17 16 49 Canada Men 6 9 16 70 Women 13 24 28 36 M&W 9 16 21 54 New Zealand Men 8 7 4 82 Women 22 22 9 47 M&W 14 14 6 66 United States Men 3 7 4 86 Women 8 17 9 67 M&W 5 12 6 77 1-34 hours 35 or more Japan Men 14 86 Women 41 59 M&W 25 75 Notes. 1. Data relate to the main job. The data are from the OECD for all persons in employment in 2001 except for Germany (2000) and the UK (2000). 2 ' indicates less than 0.5%. Source: OECD Labour Markets Indicators database ( 33

Table 2.

The usual weekly volume of hours of the employed, by occupational group and gender, EU-15 (a) Employed men % Distribution of usual weekly working hours (row) Under 35 35-39 40-47 48+ Mean Std. Deviation Managers & senior officials 8 16 31 45 48.7 15.6 Professionals 18 23 34 25 40.5 12.5 Associate professionals 11 35 35 19 40.6 10.6 Clerks 9 46 36 9 38.7 7.8 Service and shop workers 15 25 34 26 41.8 14.3 Skilled agriculture & fishery 15 17 24 44 47.4 17.1 Craft and related 5 31 48 16 41.4 8.7 Operators and assemblers 7 31 45 17 41.3 10.3 Elementary occupations 19 29 41 11 36.9 11.8 All 11 29 39 21 41.6 11.9 (b) Employed women % Distribution of usual weekly working hours (row) Under 20 20-34 35-39 40-47 48+ Mean Std.

Deviation Managers & senior officials 2 16 19 28 35 44.7 15.8 Professionals 14 32 25 20 9 32.3 11.5 Associate professionals 11 25 33 24 7 33.7 10.8 Clerks 9 26 37 25 3 33.0 9.7 Service and shop workers 20 31 20 21 8 31.1 13.2 Skilled agriculture & fishery 5 23 11 30 31 42.9 18.6 Craft and related 10 18 30 33 9 35.5 10.5 Operators and assemblers 3 18 39 35 5 36.1 8.7 Elementary occupations 28 28 20 19 5 27.6 12.9 All 14 26 27 24 9 33.2 12.6 Note: The occupational classification used is ISCO Major occupational groups (1 digit data). The armed forces are not shown. The data relates to main job only.

Source: The European Working Conditions Survey, 2000. 34

Table 3. Weekly work schedules of the employed in the EU-15, by occupation and gender Row % (sums to 100) Some week-end work Regular week- end work Standard weekdays Standard weekdays + long days No long days + long days No long days + long days Evenings/ nights Rotating shifts / night shift M W 16 18 14 10 3 6 14 6 11 22 26 26 8 4 8 8 Managers & senior officials All 17 12 4 11 15 26 7 8 M W 27 39 16 10 5 7 17 5 7 10 14 6 6 5 8 18 Professionals All 33 13 6 11 9 10 5 13 M W 30 33 15 8 5 12 10 5 7 6 10 4 5 6 18 26 Associate professional & technicians All 32 11 9 8 6 7 5 22 M W 45 60 10 6 9 8 5 3 9 9 7 2 4 3 11 9 Clerical All 55 7 9 3 9 4 3 10 M W 12 19 3 2 10 13 5 2 16 24 17 7 10 9 27 24 Service & sales All 17 3 12 3 21 10 9 25 M W 19 11 4 2 8 10 6 5 14 19 32 37 10 10 7 7 Skilled agricultural & fishery All 17 3 9 5 16 33 10 7 M W 34 38 9 4 7 10 10 6 7 18 10 3 4 5 19 16 Craft & related All 35 8 7 10 9 9 4 18 M W 19 35 7 5 7 11 10 1 4 7 7 * 6 5 40 36 Operators & assembly All 22 7 8 8 4 6 6 39 M W 34 47 3 2 11 10 4 3 11 14 6 7 6 6 25 18 Other (elementary) labour All 40 3 11 3 12 5 6 20 Men 28 9 7 10 9 12 6 19 Women 37 5 10 3 14 7 6 18 Women – Full-time 34 8 8 5 13 9 4 19 Women – Part-time 43 3 12 1 14 3 8 16 All 32 8 8 7 11 10 6 18 Notes: 1.

The occupational classification used is ISCO Major occupational groups (1 digit data). 2. M= Men, W= Women, FT=Full-time (35+ hours per week), PT=Part-time (Under 35 hours per week). 3. A 'long day' is defined as working 10 hours or more.

4. 'Some' week-end work includes 1-4 days per month, 'regular' week-end work is more than 4 days per month. 5. 'Some' evenings/nights includes people who report that that their work schedules do not always fall into daytime hours, but are not part of shift rostas. Evenings are defined as 6-10pm and nights as 10pm-5am in the survey. 6. Rotating shifts includes all those with an alternating shift pattern during daytime hours or day and night shifts or permanent nights. It excludes those with permanent morning or afternoon shifts.

Source: The European Working Conditions Survey, 2000. 35

Table 4.

Work schedules of full-time wage and salary workers in the USA, by occupation and gender, 2001 Row % (sums to 100) Regular daytime Evening Night Rotating or split shift Irregular or 'other' Executive, administrative & managerial 94 2 1 1 2 Professional 92 2 2 1 3 Technicians & related support 84 4 4 3 5 Sales 84 4 1 4 7 Clerical & administrative support 91 4 2 1 2 Services – private household 83 1 1 1 14 Services – protective 50 12 10 13 15 Services – food 58 19 4 7 12 Services – health 69 11 9 6 5 Services – cleaning & caretaking 73 15 7 2 3 Services – personal 76 7 4 5 8 Mechanics & repairers 87 5 4 2 2 Construction trades 95 1 1 1 2 Other precision production, craft & repair 79 7 6 5 3 Machine operators & assemblers 71 12 10 5 2 Transport & material moving 75 5 5 5 10 Other (unskilled) labour 77 7 9 3 4 Farming, forestry & fishing 94 2 1 1 2 Men 83 5 4 3 5 Women 87 4 3 2 4 Women with a youngest child under 6 years 87 6 3 2 2 All 85 5 3 3 4 Notes: 1.

Data relates to those aged 16 years and over who usually work full-time (35 hours or more per week) on their main job.

2. The schedules were defined in the questionnaire as: daytime (anytime between 6am-6pm), evening (anytime between 2pm and midnight), night (anytime between 9pm and 8am), rotating (one that changes periodically from days to evenings or night), split (one consisting of two distinct periods each day), employer-arranged irregular or 'other' schedule. Source: Current Population Survey (CPS), derived from tables 4 and 5 of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2001 supplement, USDL 02-225 'Workers on flexible and shift schedules in 2001' 36

Table 5.

Fixed and variable start and finishing times, EU-15 Row % (sums to 100) Employer sets fixed hours Fixed hours - personal influence Flexible schedules – personal influence Employer sets variable hours M W 13 21 30 39 50 36 7 4 Managers & senior officials All 16 33 45 6 M W 28 47 18 20 44 20 10 13 Professionals All 38 19 32 11 M W 33 46 24 21 32 21 11 12 Associate professional & technicians All 39 23 27 11 M W 50 50 25 28 17 14 8 8 Clerical All 50 27 15 8 M W 41 48 19 21 22 16 18 15 Service & sales All 46 20 18 16 M W 20 18 17 17 50 54 13 11 Skilled agricultural & fishery All 20 17 51 12 M W 54 51 19 15 17 24 10 10 Craft & related All 53 19 18 10 M W 55 72 13 11 13 9 19 8 Operators & assembly All 58 13 13 17 M W 58 58 15 20 13 12 14 10 Other (elementary) labour All 58 18 12 12 Men 42 20 26 12 Women 48 23 19 11 Women – Full-time 50 21 18 11 Women – Part-time 46 24 19 11 All 45 21 23 11 Notes: 1.

The occupational classification used is ISCO Major occupational groups (1 digit data). 2. M= Men, W= Women, FT=Full-time (35+ hours per week), PT=Part-time (Under 35 hours per week). 3. The item was derived from two questions: q26iv ‘You can influence your working hours’ (Yes/No/Don’t know) and q18aiii ‘Do you work fixed start and finishing times’ (Yes/No/Don’t know). People who replied 'no' or 'don't know' to q26iv are considered to have their hours set by their employer, and these may be fixed or variable depending on the response to q18aiii. People who replied yes to both question items are defined as working fixed hours under their personal influence (for example, they may have options to vary their hours but choose not to).

Those who replied 'yes' to q26iv and 'no' to q18aiii are defined as working flexible schedules under their personal influence.

Source: The European Working Conditions Survey, 2000. 37

Table 6. Flexible schedules of full-time wage and salary workers in the USA, by occupation and gender, 2001 % With flexible schedules Men Women All % Of all with a formal flexitime program Executive, administrative & managerial 49 42 46 17 Professional 46 26 36 14 Technicians & related support 37 28 31 12 Sales 44 36 41 12 Clerical & administrative support 24 25 25 12 Services – private household .. 35 35 10 Services – protective 16 14 16 8 Services – food 24 22 23 7 Services – health 21 16 17 8 Services – cleaning & caretaking 15 15 15 5 Services – personal 31 38 36 15 Mechanics & repairers 20 18 20 7 Construction trades 17 ..

17 6 Other precision production, craft & repair 18 16 18 7 Machine operators & assemblers 11 7 9 5 Transport & material moving 20 22 20 7 Other (unskilled) labour 12 10 12 5 Farming, forestry & fishing 21 18 21 6 All 30 27 29 11 Notes: 1. Data relates to those aged 16 years and over who usually work full-time (35 hours or more per week) on their main job.

2. The question asked about flexible schedules was 'Do you have flexible work hours that allow you to vary or make changes in the time you begin and end work?' (Yes/No). If the respondent answered 'yes' a follow- up question about formal flexitime programs was asked: 'Is you flexible work schedule part of a flexitime program or other program offered by your employer?' (Yes/No). Source: Current Population Survey (CPS), derived from tables 2 and 3 of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2001 supplement, USDL 02-225 'Workers on flexible and shift schedules in 2001' 38

Table 7.

Employed men and women's preferences for working-time adjustments by their current working hours, EU15 plus Norway % Who want to adjust their hours … Current average weekly working hours are… All Under 20 20-34 35-39 40-49 50 plus Men Reduce hours 5 15 41 61 80 57 Keep same hours 34 48 49 36 18 34 Increase hours 61 37 10 3 2 9 Total % 100 100 100 100 100 100 Women Reduce hours 8 17 53 69 83 44 Keep same hours 42 56 42 30 17 40 Increase hours 50 27 5 1 * 16 Total % 100 100 100 100 100 100 All Reduce hours 8 16 46 62 81 51 Keep same hours 40 54 45 34 18 37 Increase hours 52 30 9 4 1 12 Total % 100 100 100 100 100 100 Under 20 hours 20-34 hours 35-49 hours 50+ hours Mean average addition desired Men (standard deviation) 19 (10.7) 12 (5.9) 8 (6.2) - Women (standard deviation) 15 (9.4) 11 (6) 5 (3.4) - Mean average reduction desired Men (standard deviation) - 7 (5.3) 8 (5.2) 20 (10) Women (standard deviation) - 7 (4.2) 10 (5.9) 20 (9.3) Note ' indicates less than 5 ' not shown because base number too small for calculation to be reliable.

Source: The Employment Options Survey, 1998. Table 8. The volume of actual and preferred hours of the employed and 'job seekers', EU15 plus Norway % Distribution of actual and preferred weekly hours of work across hours categories Employed men Job seeking men prefer… Employed Women Job seeking women prefer… Weekly hours Actual Preferred Actual Preferred Under 20 hours 3 8 5 14 14 9 20-34 6 18 21 25 42 44 35-39 22 32 26 26 25 19 40-49 44 33 43 28 16 27 50 plus 25 8 4 7 2 1 Total % 100 100 100 100 100 100 Average 43 36.7 35.3 33.5 30.2 30.4 (standard deviation) (11.7) (9.9) (9.9) (12.2) (10.0) (9.6) Note: 'Job seekers' are all those who want employment now or within the next 5 years.

Source: The Employment Options Survey, 1998.


Table 9. Employed men and women's assessment of the compatibility of their working hours with family and other commitments, EU-15 % Who report that their working hours fit 'poorly or not at all' with family and social commitments Schedule type Men, 35+ hours Women, 35+ hours Women,

Figure 2. Working-time policy objectives and elements to promote gender equality in employment and 'work-life balance' Policy objectives 1. To reduce working-time barriers to labour market participation and so contribute to raising women's employment rate.

2. To address particular working-time obstacles to women's entry to management and other male- dominated activities, and so contribute to the reduction of segregation, particularly vertical segregation. 3. To develop working-time arrangements to improve the quality of the reconciliation of employment and family responsibilities and 'work-life balance' more broadly. 4. To develop equal treatment between full-time and part-time workers including opportunities to make transitions between full-time and part-time hours at different life stages. 5. To adapt men's working-time patterns and increase their time involvement in parenting and other care activities and hence contribute to reforming the gender division of labour.

Policy elements a) Collective reductions in full-time hours to tackle 'overworking' and 'long hours cultures' b) Increase the opportunities for good quality, part-time work Š Encourage the creation of 'substantial' rather than 'marginal' part-time hours of work Š Equal treatment in employment and social protection systems Š Increase opportunities to work part-time in a wider range of jobs, including promotion opportunities Š Increase opportunities for mobility between part-time and full-time work c) Improve the reconciliation of employment and family responsibilities and 'work-life balance' Š Leave entitlements (Maternity, paternity, parental and other care-related leave) Š Childcare services, including school opening hours, and other support systems (e.g.

transport policy) Š Rights to adjust between full-time/part-time hours Š Autonomous flexibility arrangements (such as flexitime and time banking, working from home) Š Reduce other working-time elements that have a negative impact on work-life balance and/or health (intense workloads, night-work and rotating shifts, unpredictable variations in schedules) d) Include specific incentives targeted at men to improve their use of 'family reconciliation' measures, such as non-transferable parental leave entitlements 41

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